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Islam and democracy





yagnyavalkya
What exactly is the relationship between Islam and democracy
Is it true that a country mainly Islamic can never be a democratic one
just because the rules of Islam are strict and does not allow free thought
Can Pakistan ever survive as a democracy?
Your views are welcome
Afaceinthematrix
A country with a high Islamic population can be Democratic. An "Islamic Country (meaning Islam is the official, or even forced, religion)" cannot be Democratic because that would violate a basic Democratic principal allowing the freedom of religion (unless everyone chooses it, maybe). Just because Islam has some strict principals, doesn't mean that they can't be democratic. Remember, Christianity used to be pretty damn strict a few hundred years ago. People have loosened up some sense then, of course. The United States is majority Christian, unfortunately, yet we still manage to pull off a democracy. That's probably because so many people "believe in God" and call themselves Christian, but they aren't too fundamental about it. So a country that's mostly Islamic would of course be able to be democratic. Islam is a newer religion than Christianity, so I think it's less evolved. Over time, maybe a few hundred years (or hopefully less), it will follow the same path as Christianity and weaken in the fundamentals. Then maybe Pakistan will survive as a democracy (unless something major happens in the world, like resource shortage, world war, etc. - then we'll all be screwed).
yagnyavalkya
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
A country with a high Islamic population can be Democratic.

Of course take India for example IT has a more Muslims than Pakistan and a raging democracy that part of about evolution of religion is true. In India the older than Christian Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have so highly evolved that they are now just a way of life
But what about the equally old religion Judaism why had it not evolved like the Christian religion ?
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
The United States is majority Christian, unfortunately, yet we still manage to pull off a democracy.

That is in large part because although the population is Christian, neither the government nor the laws are - because of the principle of separation of church and state. That is how the country was founded (not as a Christian country, despite what the majority of Americans apparently believe). And even though Christianity has tried desperately to muscle in on the government since the beginning, it has only had very moderate success at best.

i think a large part of the "maturing" of Christianity has nothing to do with Christianity itself, but is rather due to the fact that a long time ago, the reigns of power were seized by people who were quite hostile to Christianity. These people established stable, well-designed nations that by and large survive right to this day - and enshrined in the establishment of these nations are restrictions on Christianity (and all religion). In order to survive within these nations, Christianity has had to learn restraint... and it's benefited well, because these nations were so well designed that they thrived, and by riding on their backs Christianity has thrived as well.

By contrast, Islam has existed in areas that have been entirely Islamic. Nothing has ever put restrictions on Islam - it's just grown like a cancer, entirely unchecked. If someone were to wipe out every single nation in the Middle East and replace them all with countries that incorporate rules that put restrictions on Islam - while creating modern, pseudo-democratic states - Islam will have to learn restraint in order to exist within these new nations... and after a hundred years or so, Muslims will be completely confused by the kind of thinking that is rampant today (just as Christians are about the thinking of their intellectual ancestors from only a hundred or so years ago). They'll probably even try to claim that democracy was an Islamic idea to begin with (as Christians do), rather than something Islam has fought tooth and nail against (as Christianity did).

Not that that's what i'd recommend to solve the problem. Personally, i think doing something like that - swooping in and just wiping out entire nations, and replacing them with carbon copies of our own - is the old way of doing things. Imperialism is so 20th century. What i'd like is for Islam to wake up to the realities of existing in a mixed world, and how it will have to evolve to exist within that world. i'd like to see Muslims themselves figure this out, pull their heads out of their asses, learn to live in peace with themselves and everyone else, and maybe the solution they come up with will be something new and entirely revolutionary (rather than just being a carbon copy of a Western nation).

Unfortunately, there is a time limit, and if they don't wake up and start joining the global community on their own, the global community will have to take action for them... and then things will get really ugly.
yagnyavalkya
Indi wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
The United States is majority Christian, unfortunately, yet we still manage to pull off a democracy.

That is in large part because although the population is Christian, neither the government nor the laws are - because of the principle of separation of church and state. That is how the country was founded (not as a Christian country, despite what the majority of Americans apparently believe). And even though Christianity has tried desperately to muscle in on the government since the beginning, it has only had very moderate success at best.

i think a large part of the "maturing" of Christianity has nothing to do with Christianity itself, but is rather due to the fact that a long time ago, the reigns of power were seized by people who were quite hostile to Christianity. These people established stable, well-designed nations that by and large survive right to this day - and enshrined in the establishment of these nations are restrictions on Christianity (and all religion). In order to survive within these nations, Christianity has had to learn restraint... and it's benefited well, because these nations were so well designed that they thrived, and by riding on their backs Christianity has thrived as well.

By contrast, Islam has existed in areas that have been entirely Islamic. Nothing has ever put restrictions on Islam - it's just grown like a cancer, entirely unchecked. If someone were to wipe out every single nation in the Middle East and replace them all with countries that incorporate rules that put restrictions on Islam - while creating modern, pseudo-democratic states - Islam will have to learn restraint in order to exist within these new nations... and after a hundred years or so, Muslims will be completely confused by the kind of thinking that is rampant today (just as Christians are about the thinking of their intellectual ancestors from only a hundred or so years ago). They'll probably even try to claim that democracy was an Islamic idea to begin with (as Christians do), rather than something Islam has fought tooth and nail against (as Christianity did).

Not that that's what i'd recommend to solve the problem. Personally, i think doing something like that - swooping in and just wiping out entire nations, and replacing them with carbon copies of our own - is the old way of doing things. Imperialism is so 20th century. What i'd like is for Islam to wake up to the realities of existing in a mixed world, and how it will have to evolve to exist within that world. i'd like to see Muslims themselves figure this out, pull their heads out of their asses, learn to live in peace with themselves and everyone else, and maybe the solution they come up with will be something new and entirely revolutionary (rather than just being a carbon copy of a Western nation).

Unfortunately, there is a time limit, and if they don't wake up and start joining the global community on their own, the global community will have to take action for them... and then things will get really ugly.

what about your comments in this "In India the older than Christian Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have so highly evolved that they are now just a way of life
But what about the equally old religion Judaism why had it not evolved like the Christian religion ?"
and I am not so sure of the CC theory but what about the Millions of Muslims living in Democracies like India, US and Europe
They will have a mixed Identity Actually I like the part that says "i'd like to see Muslims themselves figure this out" but do you really think they can?
Christianity did have a generous dose of liberalism as did most other religions ( I am not sure about the Jews) but Muslim liberal is hard to find
JinTenshi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Islam is a newer religion than Christianity, so I think it's less evolved.


it is? I never knew. i've always thought this religion started out as islam, and soon spin into 2 religions for they believe in 2 different stories. 1 - the qu ran and 2 - the bible.

and after which it further split but that's not the point. O: can someone validate this statement?
Bikerman
The Abrahamic religions can be put in chronological order as follows:
1) Judaism (a few thousand years BCE)
2) Christianity (1st century CE)
3) Islam (7th century CE)
ocalhoun
JinTenshi wrote:
they believe in 2 different stories. 1 - the qu ran and 2 - the bible.

Not quite that simple...
All three believe in the Torah, or Old Testament (as Christians call it) (I don't know what Muslims call it), But Christianity added in the New Testament, and Islam added in the Koran.


On the subject at hand...
I think some in-depth research is in order! We need to look at exactly how Christianity went from the dominating, all-powerful Catholic church to what it is today, and then think about how the same process could be applied to Islam.
Afaceinthematrix
Indi wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
The United States is majority Christian, unfortunately, yet we still manage to pull off a democracy.

That is in large part because although the population is Christian, neither the government nor the laws are - because of the principle of separation of church and state. That is how the country was founded (not as a Christian country, despite what the majority of Americans apparently believe). And even though Christianity has tried desperately to muscle in on the government since the beginning, it has only had very moderate success at best.


Well of course. That's why I said that a nation that is mostly Islamic would be able to be democratic but not a nation that is Islamic. If a nation is Islamic, then there is not a separation of church and state and the whole idea doesn't work. But if it just has a high population of Muslims, then it should work fine.

JinTenshi wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Islam is a newer religion than Christianity, so I think it's less evolved.


it is? I never knew. i've always thought this religion started out as islam, and soon spin into 2 religions for they believe in 2 different stories. 1 - the qu ran and 2 - the bible.

and after which it further split but that's not the point. O: can someone validate this statement?


No. Judaism started out first. Then Jesus came and update the religion. Then about 500 years later the prophet Mohammad came and updated the religion again and came out with Islam. That's why Jesus appears in the Koran. All three religions worship the same God, but have different views on things. Bikerman lays out the timeline nicely and ocalhoun sums up the beliefs pretty nicely.
catscratches
yagnyavalkya wrote:
what about your comments in this "In India the older than Christian Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have so highly evolved that they are now just a way of life
But what about the equally old religion Judaism why had it not evolved like the Christian religion ?"
I believe that the reason is that Jews have historically been rather reserved and not accepted a lot of new idéas. (Which has also made them an easy group to blame for everything, which we can see all the time.)
Bikerman
catscratches wrote:
yagnyavalkya wrote:
what about your comments in this "In India the older than Christian Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have so highly evolved that they are now just a way of life
But what about the equally old religion Judaism why had it not evolved like the Christian religion ?"
I believe that the reason is that Jews have historically been rather reserved and not accepted a lot of new idéas. (Which has also made them an easy group to blame for everything, which we can see all the time.)

No, it's much more complex than this.
a) Jews generally believe in intermarriage (within the faith). Judaism passes mainly through the matriarchal line. Although other religions also like to encourage inter-faith marriage, Judaism stands out in this regard.
b) The anti-semitic notion of Jews as secretive acquisitive people has a long history. I would argue that the most important aspect here was the religious injunction against Usury which was shared by the 3 Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). This meant that lending money (with interest) was forbidden for most people. Jews 'got around' this by defining usury as something which a Jew did to another Jew - thus legitimising lending money to non-Jews. Thus the Jews became known as money lenders and such people are always unpopular. Christians, of course, later adopted an even more relaxed attitude (which I would argue is an important aspect in the development of the west), whilst Muslims retained a prohibition on Usury which (again in my opinion) is an important reason why Islam failed to adapt to the 'modern' world.
yagnyavalkya
Bikerman wrote:
catscratches wrote:
yagnyavalkya wrote:
what about your comments in this "In India the older than Christian Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have so highly evolved that they are now just a way of life
But what about the equally old religion Judaism why had it not evolved like the Christian religion ?"
I believe that the reason is that Jews have historically been rather reserved and not accepted a lot of new idéas. (Which has also made them an easy group to blame for everything, which we can see all the time.)

No, it's much more complex than this.
a) Jews generally believe in intermarriage (within the faith). Judaism passes mainly through the matriarchal line. Although other religions also like to encourage inter-faith marriage, Judaism stands out in this regard.
b) The anti-semitic notion of Jews as secretive acquisitive people has a long history. I would argue that the most important aspect here was the religious injunction against Usury which was shared by the 3 Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). This meant that lending money (with interest) was forbidden for most people. Jews 'got around' this by defining usury as something which a Jew did to another Jew - thus legitimising lending money to non-Jews. Thus the Jews became known as money lenders and such people are always unpopular. Christians, of course, later adopted an even more relaxed attitude (which I would argue is an important aspect in the development of the west), whilst Muslims retained a prohibition on Usury which (again in my opinion) is an important reason why Islam failed to adapt to the 'modern' world.

But Usury is a practice as against a belief do you really think this practice had such an enormous influence on the growth of the three religions
In India there is a religion called the Jainism which legitimizes usury and is the Jains are strict vegetarians . What I don't understand here is that they don't harm even a fly but they lend money on interest and usurp property is this not contradictory?
Bikerman
I don't understand your point. Usury was specifically outlawed by the three Abrahamic religions. The distinction between 'practice and belief' makes no sense to me in this context. Usury simply means a charge for a loan (what we call interest). In recent times it has come to mean charging excessive interest - but that was not the meaning at the time we are discussing.

Yes, I am pretty certain it had a major influence on the societies in which Islam and Christianity existed, and I'm absolutely certain that it was a major contributory factor to the perception of Jews within those societies - there is no question about it.
If you look at the developments in Europe from the Renaissance onwards you will see the central role that capital played. Without loans/credit then progress would certainly have been slowed. Had the Christian prohibition on Usury been maintained then I think things in the West would have developed much differently.
yagnyavalkya
Bikerman wrote:
I don't understand your point. Usury was specifically outlawed by the three Abrahamic religions. The distinction between 'practice and belief' makes no sense to me in this context. Usury simply means a charge for a loan (what we call interest). In recent times it has come to mean charging excessive interest - but that was not the meaning at the time we are discussing.

Yes, I am pretty certain it had a major influence on the societies in which Islam and Christianity existed, and I'm absolutely certain that it was a major contributory factor to the perception of Jews within those societies - there is no question about it.
If you look at the developments in Europe from the Renaissance onwards you will see the central role that capital played. Without loans/credit then progress would certainly have been slowed. Had the Christian prohibition on Usury been maintained then I think things in the West would have developed much differently.

I agree but I want to tell that the usury as I understand does not have a theological base and it drove the direction of economy rather than philosophy
What we have in India is the non institutional money lenders who are cut throat types and they are ones most sought after because there is no paper work involved. But did the text or the book s of the these Abrahamic religions have anything for or against the practice?
Bikerman
Of course it has a scriptural/theological basis. You obviously don't know much about the Abrahamic religions, which is probably understandable.
The theological objection to Usury comes from Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Kings 1, Nehemia, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah & Ezekiel. In other words there is a HUGE amount about the subject in the bible (and in the Quran) and it is explicitly forbidden numerous times.

If you want some examples: (New King James Bible quotes)

Exodus 22:25 If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest
Deuteronomy 23:19 You shall not charge interest to your brother -- interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.

(Now here is the bit used by the early Jews to justify usury involving Non-Jews)

Deuteronomy 23:20 To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

Psalm 15:5 He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
Ezekiel 18:8-9 If he has not exacted usury Nor taken any increase, But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true judgement between man and man; If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgements faithfully -- He is just; He shall surely live!" Says the Lord GOD.

and so on....
yagnyavalkya
Thanks for the reference
This is news to me
But I cant understand a God who says lend money at interest to others but not your bothers
I actually thought the true God would want universal brotherhood
I still don't understand I have head that the Bible says show your other cheek but there are also statements like the one mentioned above by you
I guess all the religions have these contradictions
Bikerman
yagnyavalkya wrote:
Thanks for the reference
This is news to me
But I cant understand a God who says lend money at interest to others but not your bothers
I actually thought the true God would want universal brotherhood
I still don't understand I have head that the Bible says show your other cheek but there are also statements like the one mentioned above by you
I guess all the religions have these contradictions

You need to remember the context (something most Christians and Jews are liable to forget). The Old Testament is written specifically by and for Jews - God's chosen people. Everyone else is a heathen. When, for example, we talk about the commandments and other biblical injunctions, these were meant to only apply to Jews, not to the heathens. It is quite OK to smite and kill the heathen (and you will find that there is an AWFUL lot of this in the OT) and when the bible refers to 'love thy brother' it actually means love thy brother JEW.
The OT is actually a pretty despicable book if you take it seriously - far better to just read it as a collection of stories.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
The OT is actually a pretty despicable book if you take it seriously - far better to just read it as a collection of stories.

Even the stories are pretty despicable.
Bikerman
Indi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
The OT is actually a pretty despicable book if you take it seriously - far better to just read it as a collection of stories.

Even the stories are pretty despicable.
Agreed, but there are some good yarns, in the style of Grimm Smile
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Indi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
The OT is actually a pretty despicable book if you take it seriously - far better to just read it as a collection of stories.

Even the stories are pretty despicable.
Agreed, but there are some good yarns, in the style of Grimm Smile

Ah, you and your English wit. ^_^;

An interesting aside, though - you are right in that the OT is pretty exclusive, and intolerant toward non-Jews. What i find amusing, though, is how far the NT swung the other way. Not so much the epistles, but the gospels, are mostly pretty hard on Jews.
Bikerman
Indi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Indi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
The OT is actually a pretty despicable book if you take it seriously - far better to just read it as a collection of stories.

Even the stories are pretty despicable.
Agreed, but there are some good yarns, in the style of Grimm Smile

Ah, you and your English wit. ^_^;

An interesting aside, though - you are right in that the OT is pretty exclusive, and intolerant toward non-Jews. What i find amusing, though, is how far the NT swung the other way. Not so much the epistles, but the gospels, are mostly pretty hard on Jews.

Indeed. Even on this narrow point the NT pretty much trashes the teachings of the OT. In Matthew and Luke, for example, we get the parable of the man with the three servants and the 'talents' (or 'minas' depending on which you choose). The message here is that the servants should have let their money grow by investment (usury). Indeed Matthew is very clear on the matter
Quote:
So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

This is absolutely contradictory to Jewish teaching on the matter, and in direct opposition to the OT Smile
Christian theologians would say that this is simply a reflection of the 'new covenant' which Jesus embodies, but then they have a hard time explaining the fact that Jesus repeatedly said that the OT was the infallible word of God (himself?). Thus we see, also in Matthew:
Quote:
Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished

Just one more in a series of contradictions Smile*

*I really should be ashamed of myself. After all, picking holes in the bible is so easy it is like kicking a man when he is down....
yagnyavalkya
OK but what are the views of the Abrahamic religious books on democracy
Actually in the start of the thread I wanted to know the reasons why a country dominated with Muslims cannot be a democracy
Is it true that circumcision was never mentioned in the OT and Koran or the Torah
Bikerman
yagnyavalkya wrote:
OK but what are the views of the Abrahamic religious books on democracy
They have nothing to say on the matter. At the time of writing there were no real democracies in existence. The Roman Republic had some elements of democracy, to be sure, but it would be a big stretch to define it as anything approaching the modern day concept..
Quote:
Actually in the start of the thread I wanted to know the reasons why a country dominated with Muslims cannot be a democracy
It is a moot point I think. The main objection is that Islam is not just a religion. When combined with Sharia it becomes a system of governance, a legal system & an education system - in other words a complete 'state'. Now, some Muslims say that it is possible to combine Sharia with democracy and they will often point to Turkey as an example. Turkey, however, disestablished Islam and virtually repealed Sharia law before it could become a democracy (and even then it is debatable whether Turkey can really be considered a true democracy)*
Quote:
Is it true that circumcision was never mentioned in the OT and Koran or the Torah

It is mentioned in Genesis (17:12-13)
Quote:
And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
As far as I know it is not mentioned in the Quran - I could be wrong though.

* http://www.meforum.org/article/216
yagnyavalkya
Thanks
especially about the circumcision thing
I am wondering why was it or is it practiced at all
What are the religious connotations attached to it
yagnyavalkya
I read somewhere that
"
Muslims during the time of Prophet Muhammad used to pray initially in the direction of Jerusalem. In addition, it was not from Mecca but Jerusalem that according to the Qur'an and the tradition Muhammad was taken on a cosmic journey of visiting the Paradise and meeting the prophets of the Old Testament as well as Christ".
But later as Prophet Muhammad realized that the Jews are a threat to the new religion
He said that he had another revelation from Gabriel and now the direction was to be changed to Mecca
Have any of you read ref to this
I remember reading this in the hard copy of the Brittanica Encyclopaedia a few years back
deanhills
yagnyavalkya wrote:
I read somewhere that
"
Muslims during the time of Prophet Muhammad used to pray initially in the direction of Jerusalem. In addition, it was not from Mecca but Jerusalem that according to the Qur'an and the tradition Muhammad was taken on a cosmic journey of visiting the Paradise and meeting the prophets of the Old Testament as well as Christ".
But later as Prophet Muhammad realized that the Jews are a threat to the new religion
He said that he had another revelation from Gabriel and now the direction was to be changed to Mecca
Have any of you read ref to this
I remember reading this in the hard copy of the Brittanica Encyclopaedia a few years back


Wow yagnyavalkya this is interesting. I looked it up and found a debate about it at the URL below.

http://debate.org.uk/topics/coolcalm/qibla.html

Quote:
According to the Qur'an, the direction of prayer (the Qibla), was canonized (or finalized) towards Mecca for all Muslims in or around 624 AD (see Sura 2:144, 149-150).

Yet, the earliest evidence from outside Muslim tradition regarding the direction in which Muslims prayed, and by implication the location of their sanctuary, points to an area much further north than Mecca, in fact somewhere in north-west Arabia (Crone-Cook 1977:23). Consider the archaeological evidence which has been and is continuing to be uncovered from the first mosques built in the seventh century:

According to archaeological research carried out by Creswell and Fehervari on ancient mosques in the Middle East, two floor-plans from two Umayyad mosques in Iraq, one built at the beginning of the 8th century by the governor Hajjaj in Wasit (noted by Creswell as, "the oldest mosque in Islam of which remains have come down to us" - Creswell 1989:41), and the other attributed to roughly the same period near Baghdad, have Qiblas (the direction which these mosques are facing) which do not face Mecca, but are oriented too far north (Creswell 1969:137ff & 1989:40; Fehervari 1961:89; Crone-Cook 1977:23,173). The Wasit mosque is off by 33 degrees, and the Baghdad mosque is off by 30 degrees (Creswell 1969:137ff; Fehervari 1961:89).

This agrees with Baladhuri's testimony (called the Futuh) that the Qibla of the first mosque in Kufa, Iraq, supposedly constructed in 670 AD (Creswell 1989:41), also lay to the west, when it should have pointed almost directly south (al-Baladhuri's Futuh, ed. by de Goeje 1866:276; Crone 1980:12; Crone-Cook 1977:23,173).

The original ground-plan of the mosque of ‘Amr b. al ‘As, located in Fustat, the garrison town outside Cairo, Egypt shows that the Qibla again pointed too far north and had to be corrected later under the governorship of Qurra b. Sharik (Creswell 1969:37,150). Interestingly this agrees with the later Islamic tradition compiled by Ahmad b. al-Maqrizi that ‘Amr prayed facing slightly south of east, and not towards the south (al-Maqrizi 1326:6; Crone-Cook 1977:24,173).

If you take a map you will find where it is that these mosques were pointing. All four of the above instances position the Qibla not towards Mecca, but much further north, in fact closer possibly to the vicinity of Jerusalem. If, as some Muslims now say, one should not take these findings too seriously as many mosques even today have misdirected Qiblas, then one must wonder why, if the Muslims back then were so incapable of ascertaining directions, they should all happen to be pointing to a singular location; to an area in northern Arabia, and possibly Jerusalem?

We find further corroboration for this direction of prayer by the Christian writer and traveler Jacob of Edessa, who, writing as late as 705 AD was a contemporary eye-witness in Egypt. He maintained that the ‘Mahgraye’ (Greek name for Arabs) in Egypt prayed facing east which was towards their Ka'ba (Crone-Cook 1977:24). His letter (which can be found in the British Museum) is indeed revealing. Therefore, as late as 705 AD the direction of prayer towards Mecca had not yet been canonized.

Note: The mention of a Ka’ba does not necessarily infer Mecca (as so many Muslims have been quick to point out), since there were other Ka’bas in existence during that time, usually in market-towns (Crone-Cook 1977:25,175). It was profitable to build a Ka’ba in these market towns so that the people coming to market could also do their pilgrimage or penitence to the idols contained within. The Ka’ba Jacob of Edessa was referring to was situated at "the patriarchal places of their races," which he also maintains was not in the south. Both the Jews and Arabs (‘Mahgraye’) maintained a common descent from Abraham who was known to have lived and died in Palestine, as has been corroborated by recent archaeological discoveries (see the earlier discussion on the Ebla, Mari and Nuzi tablets, as well as extra-Biblical 10th century references to Abraham in McDowell 1991:98-104). This common descent from Abraham is also corroborated by the Armenian Chronicler, Sebeos, as early as 660 AD (Sebeos 1904:94-96; Crone-Cook 1977:8; Cook 1983:75).

According to Dr. Hawting, who teaches on the sources of Islam at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, a part of the University of London), new archaeological discoveries of mosques in Egypt from the early 700s also show that up till that time the Muslims (or Haggarenes) were indeed praying, not towards Mecca, but towards the north, and possibly Jerusalem. In fact, Dr. Hawting maintains, no mosques have been found from this period (the seventh century) which face towards Mecca (noted from his class lectures in 1995). Hawting cautions, however, that not all of the Qiblas face towards Jerusalem. Some Jordanian mosques have been uncovered which face north, while there are certain North African mosques which face south, implying that there was some confusion as to where the early sanctuary was placed. Yet, the Qur'an tells us (in sura 2) that the direction of the Qibla was fixed towards Mecca by approximately two years after the Hijra, or around 624 AD, and has remained in that direction until the present!

Thus, according to Crone and Cook and Hawting, the combination of the archaeological evidence from Iraq along with the literary evidence from Egypt points unambiguously to a sanctuary [and thus direction of prayer] not in the south, but somewhere in north-west Arabia (or even further north) at least till the end of the seventh century (Crone-Cook 1977:24).

What is happening here? Why are the Qiblas of these early mosques not facing towards Mecca? Why the discrepancy between the Qur'an and that which archaeology as well as documents reveal as late as 705 AD?

Some Muslims argue that perhaps the early Muslims did not know the direction of Mecca. Yet these were desert traders, caravaneers! Their livelihood was dependant on traveling the desert, which has few landmarks, and, because of the sandstorms, no roads. They, above all, knew how to follow the stars. Their lives depended on it. Certainly they knew the difference between the north and the south.

Furthermore, the mosques in Iraq and Egypt were built in civilized urban areas, amongst a sophisticated people who were well adept at finding directions. It is highly unlikely that they would miscalculate their qiblas by so many degrees. How else did they perform the obligatory Hajj, which we are told was also canonized at this time? And why are so many of the mosques facing in the direction of northern Arabia, or possibly Jerusalem? A possible answer may be found by looking at archaeology once again; this time in Jerusalem itself.

Some more facts at the URL below:
http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/places/jerusalem.htm

The Dome of the Rock:
In the centre of Jerusalem sits an imposing structure (even today) called the Dome of the Rock, built by ‘Abd al-Malik in 691 AD One will note, however, that the Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, as it has no Qibla (no direction for prayer). It is built as an octagon with eight pillars (Nevo 1994:113), suggesting it was used for circumambulation (to walk around). Thus, it seems to have been built as a sanctuary (Glasse 1991:102). Today it is considered to be the third most holy site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. Muslims contend that it was built to commemorate the night when Muhammad went up to heaven to speak with Moses and Allah concerning the number of prayers required of the believers (known as the Mi'raj in Arabic) (Glasse 1991:102).

Yet, according to the research carried out on the inscriptions on the walls of the building by Van Berchem and Nevo, they say nothing of the Mi'raj, but state mere polemical quotations which are Qur'anic, though they are aimed primarily at Christians. The inscriptions attest the messianic status of Jesus, the acceptance of the prophets, Muhammad's receipt of revelation, and the use of the terms "Islam" and "Muslim" (Van Berchem 1927:nos.215,217; Nevo 1994:113). Why, if the Dome of the Rock were built to commemorate that momentous event, does it saying nothing about it? Perhaps this building was built for other purposes than that of commemorating the Mi'raj. The fact that such an imposing structure was built so early suggests that this and not Mecca became the sanctuary and the centre of a nascent Islam up until at least the late seventh century, (Van Bercham 1927:217)!

From what we read earlier of Muhammad's intention to fulfill his and the Hagarene’s birthright, by taking back the land of Abraham, or Palestine, it makes sense that the caliph ‘Abd al-Malik would build this structure as the centre-piece of that fulfillment. Is it no wonder then, that when ‘Abd al-Malik built the dome in which he proclaimed the prophetic mission of Muhammad, he placed it over the temple rock itself (Van Berchem 1927:217).

According to Islamic tradition, the caliph Suleyman, who reigned as late as 715-717 AD, went to Mecca to ask about the Hajj. He was not satisfied with the response he received there, and so chose to follow ‘abd al-Malik (i.e. traveling to the Dome of the Rock) (note: not to be confused with the Imam, Malik b. Anas who, because he was born in 712 AD would have been only three years old at the time). This fact alone, according to Dr. Hawting at SOAS, points out that there was still some confusion as to where the sanctuary was to be located as late as the early eighth century. It seems that Mecca was only now (sixty years after the Muhammad’s death) taking on the role as the religious centre of Islam. One can therefore understand why, according to tradition, Walid I, who reigned as Caliph between 705 and 715 AD, wrote to all the regions ordering the demolition and enlargement of the mosques (refer to `Kitab al-`uyun wa'l-hada'iq,' edited by M. de Goeje and P. de Jong 1869:4). Could it be that at this time the Qiblas were then aligned towards Mecca? If so it points to a glaring contradiction to the Qur'an which established Mecca as the sanctuary and thus direction for prayer during the lifetime of Muhammad some eighty to ninety years earlier (see Sura 2:144-150).

And that is not all, for we have other archaeological and inscripted evidence which point up differences with that which we read in the Qur'an.



The most notable Muslim site in Jerusalem is the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhrah), which, like the Ka'ba, is built over a sacred stone. This stone is holy to Jews as well, who believe it to be the site at which Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac (Muslims place this event in Mecca).

A prominent figure on the Jerusalem skyline, the shining Dome of the Rock was built from 685 to 691 CE as a shrine for pilgrims. {1} Its base is octagonal in shape and its outer walls are 60 feet high.

The wooden dome that rests upon columns within the building is approximately 60 feet in diameter. Both the outer walls and the dome have many windows. Much of the mosaic, faience (tin-glazed earthenware), and marble that gives it its sparkle was added centuries after it was built.

In the Middle Ages, Christians and Muslims both believed the dome to be the biblical Temple of Solomon. The Knights Templars made their headquarters there during the Crusades, and later patterned their churches after its design. {2}

The Al-Aqsa Mosque (Arabic Masjid Al-Aqsa, "farthest mosque") is part of the complex of religious buildings in Jerusalem known as either the Majed Mount or Al-Haram ash-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims and the Temple Mount to Jews.



Muslim tradition states that Muhammad ascended to heaven from the Mount in 621, making the mosque the third most holy shrine in Islam (see Isra and Miraj.)

After the Dome of the Rock (690) the first wooden Al-Aqsa Mosque was constructed by the Umayyads, completed in 710. The structure has been rebuilt at least five times; it was entirely destroyed at least once by earthquakes. The last major rebuild was in 1035.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the largest mosque in Jerusalem; about 5,000 people can worship in and around the mosque. It shows a mixture of styles including Crusader work from when the Crusaders held Jerusalem, during which the mosque was used as a palace and called the Temple of Solomon, in the belief that the mosque was built on the site of the original temple. Al-Aqsa has been at times the target of attacks by Jewish extremists, but most attempts were averted by Israel's security services.

Since part of the mosque's extended surrounding wall is the Western Wall venerated by Jews, this relatively tiny spot in Jerusalem can become the source of friction. There have been times when enraged Muslims worshiping at the mosque have hurled rocks downward at the Jews praying below at the Western Wall. A group of Jews known as the Temple Mount Faithful actually have plans to rebuild the ancient Jewish Temple in that area.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is named after the mosque, probably in memory of Ariel Sharon's controversial visit to the Temple Mount at the beginning of the Second Intifada (also known as the al-Aqsa Intifada). {3}

References
{1} "Dome of the Rock." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 2004.
{2} Ibid.
{3} "Al-Aqsa Mosque." Wikipedia. Accessed 2004.

yagnyavalkya
Here is something I would like to bring to your notice
Like Mr. Snowdon said that there are places in the OT that mentions circumcision
but there are also places in the OT that mentions the following:
1.Leviticus 5:1-10 If you commit a sin then you can expurgate your sin by sacrificing a goat by gouging it through its neck. If you cannot afford a goat then two turtle doves are okay.

2.Leviticus 20:13 Gay men must be stoned to death.

3.Leviticus 25:44 Slavery is perfectly acceptable;

4.Lev 25:46 Any slave you own is hereditary property that you can happily pass onto your children when you die;

5.Deut 21:1-29 If you find a dead human body on your land then you must decapitate a female calf and wash your hands in its blood over a swiftly running stream.

6.Deut 21:10:14 Rape is perfectly acceptable as long as it is an enemy woman you are raping.

7.Deut 21:18-21 If your son doesn't do as he says, then feel free to flog him. If he still dose not do as you ask, the priests will organize some blokes to stone him to death on your behalf.
Most of these are not practiced by the Jews
then why stick to the Circumcision
Da Rossa
No, the Islam and democracy are incompatible. The fundamentalism means simply the fusion with State and religion, which means that the entire country will be ruled by "laws that come from above", which cannot be changed. This change would be the most important thing about democracy: the debate.

Religion is to guide people and their moral and behaviour. I don't advocate that politics and religion should be separated completely, because good political decisions often come from moral inspirations, which have religious basis.

But this doesn't mean that this has to take place the way it does in Islam. The Islam could guide their moral, but not prevent 30 women from getting rescued from a firing building because they would get their faces exposed and this is agains the rules... I believe that their lives should take precedence to this. And, if a religion puts that kind of dogma in the first place, so this is not a reasonable religion at all.
Afaceinthematrix
Da Rossa wrote:
No, the Islam and democracy are incompatible. The fundamentalism means simply the fusion with State and religion, which means that the entire country will be ruled by "laws that come from above", which cannot be changed. This change would be the most important thing about democracy: the debate.


This does not answer the original question. The original question asked if a country that is mostly Islamic (meaning the majority of the citizens are Muslims) could have a democracy. It did not ask if an Islamic country could have a democracy.

Da Rossa wrote:

Religion is to guide people and their moral and behaviour. I don't advocate that politics and religion should be separated completely, because good political decisions often come from moral inspirations, which have religious basis.


I would have to disagree. In fact, I think most humanitarians would disagree. Moral inspirations do not have to have a religious basis. I have no religion. Does that mean that I cannot have moral inspirations? Besides, in my opinion, a lot of immoral inspirations have a religious basis. How many times has religion justified murder, slavery, etc.?

Da Rossa wrote:

But this doesn't mean that this has to take place the way it does in Islam. The Islam could guide their moral, but not prevent 30 women from getting rescued from a firing building because they would get their faces exposed and this is agains the rules... I believe that their lives should take precedence to this. And, if a religion puts that kind of dogma in the first place, so this is not a reasonable religion at all.


I would agree with that. In fact, most religions (definitely the Abrahamic religions) are unreasonable if you follow them fundamentally.
Da Rossa
Quote:
This does not answer the original question. The original question asked if a country that is mostly Islamic (meaning the majority of the citizens are Muslims) could have a democracy. It did not ask if an Islamic country could have a democracy.

Then yes, in theory, it could. Unless the leader(s) go greedy about power and, under the pretext of "serving a greater good", install some kind of dictatorship based on fundamentalism.

Quote:
I would have to disagree. In fact, I think most humanitarians would disagree. Moral inspirations do not have to have a religious basis. I have no religion. Does that mean that I cannot have moral inspirations? Besides, in my opinion, a lot of immoral inspirations have a religious basis. How many times has religion justified murder, slavery, etc.?


I understand your point of view. However, you unfortunately cannot say your education/values are not based on some religious precepts. Provided you're from the West (where are you from?), the Christianism has imprinted a great influence on your life and will keep doing for many (I hope) generations. You parents, grandparents, your country, if that's the case, has grown up involved with christian values.

And yes, sometimes the religion is used as "motivation"/pretext for doing such terrible things. But we're talking about the religion itself, not the lunatics. I'm Catholic, but I recognize many catholics (or people that at least pretend to be) like "fooling around". Slavery, on the other hand, can be used as an argument, but only for the Islam itself: while the spread of the Christianism has pushed the Romans to reduce slavery and methods of torture, by teaching them the idea that the Salvation and such practices were not in harmony.

Six centuries later the muslims started their campaings over the Mediterranean to take people from West Europe - spanish in particular - to serve as slaves in Mecca. This lasted until near the begining of the 16th century.

Quote:
I would agree with that. In fact, most religions (definitely the Abrahamic religions) are unreasonable if you follow them fundamentally.
That's very complicated. I agree in terms of the Arabic religions. But the Christianism is not so "tight-leashed". There are rules, of course. Most of them in the form of duties, not "rights". But if you follow them, trust me, the world would be a faaaar better place.
Bikerman
Da Rossa wrote:
while the spread of the Christianism has pushed the Romans to reduce slavery and methods of torture, by teaching them the idea that the Salvation and such practices were not in harmony.
This sounds like complete fantasy to me. Where is your evidence for this assertion? It is true that Christians were not supposed to keep other Christians as slaves and, therefore by default as Christianity spread through Europe there were less slaves kept, but the letters of Paul make it quite clear that the early Church had no problems with slavery in general. Remember Paul's letter to the Ephesians?
Quote:
Slaves, be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, in fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ
The Bible has been used on numerous occasions to justify slavery -by the early Romans, throughout the middle ages, and as recently as Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederate states).
Quote:
Quote:
I would agree with that. In fact, most religions (definitely the Abrahamic religions) are unreasonable if you follow them fundamentally.
That's very complicated. I agree in terms of the Arabic religions. But the Christianism is not so "tight-leashed". There are rules, of course. Most of them in the form of duties, not "rights". But if you follow them, trust me, the world would be a faaaar better place.
I disagree completely. We know exactly what theocracies are and how they behave. We had many centuries of it in the west and we still have many examples in the middle-east. Rule by Christianity would be a disaster in terms of human rights, freedom of thought, speech and expression. You cannot say that 'Christianism (?) is not so "tight leashed"' because you do not speak for Christianity - you speak for one or more sects. I know several sects of Christianity which are extremely tight leashed.
Afaceinthematrix
Da Rossa wrote:

I understand your point of view. However, you unfortunately cannot say your education/values are not based on some religious precepts. Provided you're from the West (where are you from?), the Christianism has imprinted a great influence on your life and will keep doing for many (I hope) generations. You parents, grandparents, your country, if that's the case, has grown up involved with christian values.


My education has not been based on religion, mostly. I received a little education on Christianity in school, but then again, we studied many different religions in my world history class. Christianity was not favored over other religions, like Hinduism. If my education was based on religion, I probably would never have learned about evolution back in middle school and high school. Also, I may have a lot of the same values as Christians, but that doesn't mean my values are based on Christianity. I believe that murder and lying are bad. But that doesn't mean that my values are based on Christianity; it means that they are similar to Christianity. While many laws may have been made based on Christianity, I don't follow them because of Christianity. I follow them because I tend to agree that certain things like murder and rape are wrong. If I felt that a law was made, based on Christian values, that was morally wrong, I would protest the law and not follow it. It worked wonders for Dr. King, Thoreau, etc. I may have grown up partially involved with Christian values, but my values do not come from Christianity; they come from compassion for other human beings, sympathy, etc.

Quote:

And yes, sometimes the religion is used as "motivation"/pretext for doing such terrible things. But we're talking about the religion itself, not the lunatics. I'm Catholic, but I recognize many catholics (or people that at least pretend to be) like "fooling around". Slavery, on the other hand, can be used as an argument, but only for the Islam itself: while the spread of the Christianism has pushed the Romans to reduce slavery and methods of torture, by teaching them the idea that the Salvation and such practices were not in harmony.

Six centuries later the muslims started their campaings over the Mediterranean to take people from West Europe - spanish in particular - to serve as slaves in Mecca. This lasted until near the begining of the 16th century.


Sure some Christians may have realized hundreds of years ago that slavery was morally wrong, but plenty of Christians in the United States used the Bible to justify slavery well into the nineteenth century. There's no denying that.*

Quote:
That's very complicated. I agree in terms of the Arabic religions. But the Christianism is not so "tight-leashed". There are rules, of course. Most of them in the form of duties, not "rights". But if you follow them, trust me, the world would be a faaaar better place.


I disagree. If you follow some of the rules laid about the Abrahamic religions, the world be a far better place. I agree with the ten commandments (with the exception of not using the lord's name in vain; I do this often since I do not believe in God. I see nothing wrong with it). But there's no way to ignore a lot of the plain silly rules in Leviticus (according to Leviticus, you cannot shave - so I've been breaking that rule for the past 4 years of my life) and others are just despicable (killing homosexuals). While I follow many of the rules laid out in the Bible, I ignore many others (swearing, using the Lord's name in vain, premarital sex, etc.)


*One of the many verses used to justify slavery:
Quote:

Leviticus 25:44 (New International Version)
Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
Bikerman
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I disagree. If you follow some of the rules laid about the Abrahamic religions, the world be a far better place.

BAM! There we have the absolute crux of the matter.
Who decides which bits of the bible are obsolete and which bits are important? Well, there are 2 choices - you either leave it up to the individual or you set up some sort of authority. Christianity generally opts for the latter. Thus you have various 'authorities' which we call 'sects' or 'denominations'. Occasionally you get a new break-away 'authority' which results in a David Koresh or similar charismatic lunatic.
Now, which authority is 'right'? Who can say - they all think they are right. Catholics claim to be the oldest 'authority' and therefore the true Church, but the history of Catholicism is not one which inspires any great confidence in that claim (look up the early and middle-ages for confirmation of that). Neither does the more recent history of that particular sect inspire much confidence that they have got it right (look up the church's activities leading up to and during WW2 & consider the activities of African Clergy in condemning condoms and spreading lies about them, the continuing preaching about birth control, the widespread abuse of children in pastoral care...and so on). Now, of course, Catholics say these were just a few 'bad apples', but that is a rather ridiculous attempt to shift blame from the authority itself.

Protestantism claims to be a return to the 'real' values of the bible, but Luther was completely bonkers by modern standards and was completely against rationality - seeing it as the enemy of 'blind' faith (in which he was, of course, right).

Christians often claim that western democracy owes its existence to their influence. This is simply a statement of the bleedin' obvious (a sort of weak anthropic principle). Of course we are here because of what came before, and Christianity was an important part of western history.* It is interesting, however, to note that real progress (or decline into materialism, as some religious have it) started after the renaissance when religion began to loose its grip. Who is to say that 'here' would not be a whole lot better if the influence of Christianity had NOT been dominant for over a millennium and a half?

* Using this argument you could make the case for current western democracy owing its existence to slavery or feudalism - it is equally true.
Afaceinthematrix
Bikerman wrote:

BAM! There we have the absolute crux of the matter.
Who decides which bits of the bible are obsolete and which bits are important?


The individual decides which rules are obsolete. That's at least my opinion. I addressed this in my last post.

Afaceinthematrix wrote:
If I felt that a law was made, based on Christian values, that was morally wrong, I would protest the law and not follow it. It worked wonders for Dr. King, Thoreau, etc. I may have grown up partially involved with Christian values, but my values do not come from Christianity; they come from compassion for other human beings, sympathy, etc.
truespeed
Bikerman wrote:


Christians often claim that western democracy owes its existence to their influence. This is simply a statement of the bleedin' obvious (a sort of weak anthropic principle). Of course we are here because of what came before, and Christianity was an important part of western history.* It is interesting, however, to note that real progress (or decline into materialism, as some religious have it) started after the renaissance when religion began to loose its grip. Who is to say that 'here' would not be a whole lot better if the influence of Christianity had NOT been dominant for over a millennium and a half?

* Using this argument you could make the case for current western democracy owing its existence to slavery or feudalism - it is equally true.


That in itself would be a good debate,has religion helped or hindered in mans advancement,would we have come as far as we have without it..
Afaceinthematrix
truespeed wrote:
Bikerman wrote:


Christians often claim that western democracy owes its existence to their influence. This is simply a statement of the bleedin' obvious (a sort of weak anthropic principle). Of course we are here because of what came before, and Christianity was an important part of western history.* It is interesting, however, to note that real progress (or decline into materialism, as some religious have it) started after the renaissance when religion began to loose its grip. Who is to say that 'here' would not be a whole lot better if the influence of Christianity had NOT been dominant for over a millennium and a half?

* Using this argument you could make the case for current western democracy owing its existence to slavery or feudalism - it is equally true.


That in itself would be a good debate,has religion helped or hindered in mans advancement,would we have come as far as we have without it..



That's not much of a debate, really. Well at least for Christianity. Christianity has done nothing really but hinder development. Development in the west pretty much stopped during the dark ages. This also happens to be a point in time where the church dominated. Hell, Galileo was put on house arrest for suggesting that the Earth is not the center of the universe.
deanhills
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
That's not much of a debate, really. Well at least for Christianity. Christianity has done nothing really but hinder development. Development in the west pretty much stopped during the dark ages. This also happens to be a point in time where the church dominated. Hell, Galileo was put on house arrest for suggesting that the Earth is not the center of the universe.


This just came from the top of my head when you were talking about the Dark Ages. Think Luther did quite a bit to motivate people to get out of the Dark Ages. I am not so sure whether it is the religion however that makes for progress, rather than the struggles say between Church and State, or one religion and another. The passion to persevere and to fight for a cause, makes for change and sometimes the changes are of an enlightening and progress variety. Luther's for me count as an enlightening variety and so also the Jewish faith. I don't know what it is in the Jewish faith, but there has to be some special ingredients that spark off amazing inventions, creativity, excellence in art and music. All of it points in the direction of progress. Same with Islam, Buddhism ... and more.
Bikerman
My own view of Luther is somewhat different. He certainly encouraged people to break away from the clerical hierarchy imposed by the Catholic church. He encouraged the translation of the bible into the vernacular, so that people could see for themselves what it contained, rather than rely on the Latin-speaking clerics for translation. That is possibly to his credit (though I would argue that this is debatable).
He was, however, violently anti-Semitic (the Nazis made use of his statements to justify the pogrom and subsequent holocaust), and during his lifetime he was directly responsible for inciting violence and murder against many Jews in Saxony and many other places. His violently anti-Semitic tract 'Von den Juden und Ihren Lügen' (On the Jews and their Lies) was used many times to justify outrages.

I regard him as a religious zealot and I seriously doubt the world is a better place because of him.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
He was, however, violently anti-Semitic (the Nazis made use of his statements to justify the pogrom and subsequent holocaust), and during his lifetime he was directly responsible for inciting violence and murder against many Jews in Saxony and many other places. His violently anti-Semitic tract 'Von den Juden und Ihren Lügen' (On the Jews and their Lies) was used many times to justify outrages.

I regard him as a religious zealot and I seriously doubt the world is a better place because of him.


I was unaware of this. Puts a completely new spin on things for me. He was rather romanticized during my history learnings at school. I had a completely different picture of him as someone who had been discriminated against, took enormous risks to fight for liberation from the Catholic Church including risking his own life.

Guess I must have been positively deluded Surprised
Bikerman
Well, I'm guessing you went to school in the US. The US is a fairly 'protestant' culture so you probably got fed the 'nice' version of Luther, just as I got fed the 'nice' version of Catholicism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_luther
HalfBloodPrince
Quote:
What exactly is the relationship between Islam and democracy

Democracy calls for freedom of religion, and if some Islamic countries followed Islam (even close to) properly they'd allow other religions to thrive (which some do, but not Judaism, or very minimally). I think a few democratic Islamic countries do have religious freedom (Pakistan is democratic and does have a small Christian population).

Quote:
Is it true that a country mainly Islamic can never be a democratic one
just because the rules of Islam are strict and does not allow free thought


When I lived in Saudi 75% of my friends weren't Muslim. There's a huge expatriate population in Saudi (me!) and in the UAE the locals make up 7% of the population. That's 93% of the population made up of foreigners, mostly non-Muslim. Both these countries have a royal family and king (sheikh or something for UAE) so clearly there's not a democracy there, but that's not to say they don't allow free thought. I also know Iraqis, Lebanese, Bahrainis, Pakistanis who are Christian. These countries do have the potential to become Democratic.

Quote:
Can Pakistan ever survive as a democracy?

Rofl, oh how proud I am of my country. The leader (Zardari) is an SoB who had his wife killed for the power and money. Every politician in Pakistan should be killed, call it frickin' narrow minded but it's the damn truth. I honestly get angry when I see those bastards on TV. The country could be in better shape but again these dogs push everyone down not allowing the poor a proper education which then results in these dogs getting elected (yes, it's a Democratic country, facepalm d'oh!). Oh then there's the Mumbai attacks (which were supposedly caused by Pakistan). India's evidence? The only surviving gun man says (weeks after detainment) he's Pakistani. Yeah, if you keep me in custody for weeks and beat the shit out of me I'll also say whatever you want to me to =)

Now I'm rambling. I need coffee or sleep. G'night!

Screw sleep, time to play Gears of War 2 ^_^
deanhills
[quote="HalfBloodPrince"]
Quote:
... and in the UAE the locals make up 7% of the population. That's 93% of the population made up of foreigners, mostly non-Muslim.


HalfBlood Prince, I do not think your stats about the UAE is correct. With the last UAE census in 2005 UAE nationals made up 20% of the population (total population was 3,769,080).
Refer: http://www.emiratesfreezone.com/uae_population.asp

Regarding breakdown of religion most of the expat population in the UAE is Muslim. I found the following stats at the URL below:
96% Muslim with 4% Christian, Hindi and other.
http://www.nationmaster.com/country/tc-united-arab-emirates/rel-religion

That is about right in my experience (I have lived here for seven years). Most of the Pakistani, Indian and Arabic people from all the other countries in the Middle East are Muslim. There are very few Christians in the UAE and the far majority of the Christians are from the Phillipines.
yagnyavalkya
HalfBloodPrince wrote:
Oh then there's the Mumbai attacks (which were supposedly caused by Pakistan). India's evidence? The only surviving gun man says (weeks after detainment) he's Pakistani. Yeah, if you keep me in custody for weeks and beat the shit out of me I'll also say whatever you want to me to =)

Now I'm rambling. I need coffee or sleep. G'night!


See I am from India
The Guy is from Pakistan and he told that on the very day he was captured and Geo TV got an interview of his dad but now ISI has whisked the Family away All we need is the Dad's DNA to proove
But what I am not worried about is that - Is he a Pakistani or not I am worried about what is the ulterior motive of these attacks?
I am worried that Taliban in the near future will take over Pakistan
I am worried that the present Civilian govt wont last
HalfBloodPrince wrote:
I honestly get angry when I see those bastards on TV. The country could be in better shape but again these dogs push everyone down not allowing the poor a proper education which then results in these dogs getting elected

That is just the same as India.We are no better but may be somewhat better!

[MOD - I have edited this post to change a word which is considered, at least here in the UK, to be racist and to which I took exception. I am presuming this was done in good faith and no blame attaches to the poster - Bikerman]
deanhills
yagnyavalkya wrote:
I am worried that Taliban in the near future will take over Pakistan
I am worried that the present Civilian govt wont last


I cannot see the Taliban taking over Pakistan. Not if it depended on the United States and its allies who are fighting side by side in Afghanistan as we speak. Think you need to have greater faith Yagnyavalkya, as now, more than ever, we need people to think positively and with common sense and responsibility, especially in India and Pakistan. The media has this uncanny ability to rally people in negative ways. Take for example the recession, which I think is much deeper due to negative media reporting everywhere. I am sure your average person with common sense can see a million miles away that the purpose of the Mumbai terrorism was to create a divide between Pakistan and India. The Mumbai attack is obviously still not over.
akshar
Democracy is a very modern concept whose underlying principle is ""Equality". Countries like Britain, USA, France have t oa very large extent managed to maintain this principle hence they have at least some form of sustainable democracy.

Islam devides the people clearly between two classes BELIEVERS and NON BELIEVERS. Hence they can never advocate democracy. Besides their laws do not evolve with time they stick to the old Shariyah which they believe to be sacrosanct.


India just pretends to be a democracy. In fact the society is divided into religion and caste and people vote based only on caste and religion. Also the islamic fundametalism aired by Pakistan and Bangaladesh has reached alarming levels in India.
Afaceinthematrix
Bikerman wrote:
Well, I'm guessing you went to school in the US. The US is a fairly 'protestant' culture so you probably got fed the 'nice' version of Luther, just as I got fed the 'nice' version of Catholicism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_luther


There's a "nice version" of Catholicism? Wow, I learn something new every day. Did they simply skip the crusades (or tell you that it was just between the Muslims and Jews)? What about all the people the church had killed? Did they simply never bring up Galileo?

I hate it when teachers are biased and leave out part of the story because it doesn't fit in with their beliefs/agendas. In my opinion, anyone who does that really shouldn't be teaching.
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
There's a "nice version" of Catholicism? Wow, I learn something new every day. Did they simply skip the crusades (or tell you that it was just between the Muslims and Jews)? What about all the people the church had killed? Did they simply never bring up Galileo?

I hate it when teachers are biased and leave out part of the story because it doesn't fit in with their beliefs/agendas. In my opinion, anyone who does that really shouldn't be teaching.

They don't need to leave any of these things out. They are quite easy to whitewash as political actions that the church/religion was roped into by various coercions. It is not uncommon around here to have people trying to pass off the crusades as battles over land or as differences between kingdoms, and ignoring the religions as the primary motivators or claiming the religions weren't really motivators at all and were just "used" by the leaders of the time (an argument that strikes me as monumentally stupid, for obvious reasons).

You will also find that people blame Galileo for the church's actions! i'm serious! They claim that Galileo was a jerk (which he may have been), and brought all his misery down on himself... therefore his persecution was his fault and the church was innocent. Yes. It is an incredibly brainless and downright degenerate argument... but you will see it come up if you push the issue.
Bikerman
LOL...well I'm guilty there to some extent. From my reading he WAS a jerk and he deliberately pushed the issue by mocking the Pope. That does not, of course, excuse the Church for its actions
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
LOL...well I'm guilty there to some extent. From my reading he WAS a jerk and he deliberately pushed the issue by mocking the Pope. That does not, of course, excuse the Church for its actions

Stating that he provoked the Church is simply stating a fact. Saying that the Church had little or no guilt for the confrontation and the persecution that resulted is the degenerate whitewashing i was referring to. If i say, "Electrons are elementary particles despite what the Church says. And by the way, the Pope's a tool," and the Church then embarks on a quest to torture me, destroy my work and eventually force me to recant and claim that electrons are not elementary... the fact that i provoked the Church is true... but 100% of the blame for the persecution is still on the Church.
Bikerman
Oh yes, I agree completely. I just wish (from an entirely selfish perspective) that he had not been such an ass. We might have avoided some of the worst excesses of the 'clampdown' that followed.
Actually, I don't believe we would - the religio-political hardening that followed had much more to do with the protestant-catholic clash than with the religion-science clash. Still, it is nice to think about where we would be today if the religious hierarchy had been consigned to the dustbin of history a little sooner....
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Still, it is nice to think about where we would be today if the religious hierarchy had been consigned to the dustbin of history a little sooner....


There no doubt would have been something else along similar lines. Along human nature lines. Sometimes wonder whether this hierarchial type of persecution is really in the dustbin. Perhaps it is still ongoing in different forms, i.e. just look at cutthroat academia at the Universities and Nobel type international researchers? People think they are super intelligent, but at the same time the world and people as a race are disintegrating? All those sins of greed, corruption, gluttony, aspirations for power and control at any price etc etc are still there. Landed us directly in this present global economic crisis too. Smile
TBSC
Only if the countries become secular and adopt a separation of church and state. This is the most sound, moral type of government. Religion should have no place in government.
deanhills
TBSC wrote:
Only if the countries become secular and adopt a separation of church and state. This is the most sound, moral type of government. Religion should have no place in government.


And perhaps also the other way round. Think the way the United States have done it, centuries and centuries ago with the founding fathers, is a good way.
ocalhoun
TBSC wrote:
Only if the countries become secular and adopt a separation of church and state. This is the most sound, moral type of government. Religion should have no place in government.

It can, perhaps, do nicely as a moral guide when setting up a government, but yes, when the two become entwined history (both ancient and modern) shows that very bad things tend to happen.


I wonder what an Islamic version of Martin Luther would be like... and what he would preach?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
I wonder what an Islamic version of Martin Luther would be like... and what he would preach?


Interesting question. Perhaps the catholic church of that time had greater freedom of speech (relatively spoken) than current Islamic countries?

Seriously though, where I am, people are seriously devout. I think a person like that today would probably be accused of blasphemy even before he got to the front door to pin up his declaration. Don't think it would be tolerated, especially by the people who would find themselves at the mosque that day. Also, just does not feel plausible: nature of Islam, definitely not catholic. Food for thought though and interesting question Smile
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
I wonder what an Islamic version of Martin Luther would be like... and what he would preach?


Interesting question. Perhaps the catholic church of that time had greater freedom of speech (relatively spoken) than current Islamic countries?

Given the examples of previous treatment by the church of blasphemers, I'm not really sure there was any more freedom of speech under old Catholicism than there is today under Islam. Perhaps Martin Luther was more or less saved from that because he gathered a following? Or perhaps he was just lucky and dealt with a more lenient pope... Or perhaps he got some measure of covert protection from some government official who wanted less influence from the church.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Given the examples of previous treatment by the church of blasphemers, I'm not really sure there was any more freedom of speech under old Catholicism than there is today under Islam. Perhaps Martin Luther was more or less saved from that because he gathered a following? Or perhaps he was just lucky and dealt with a more lenient pope... Or perhaps he got some measure of covert protection from some government official who wanted less influence from the church.


Could perhaps also be something deep-rooted in the Germanic culture and history of the German people, to follow mythological leaders. The same reason that Hitler not only survived but had been revered, for his national-socialistic propoganda and policies with a blind-eye to his atrocities. Something romantic was found in a cause, and then was followed slavishly? Sort of a pattern in its history?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Sort of a pattern in its history?

Well, propaganda might be that pattern... Simply tell the masses the same thing over and over, and no matter how absurd it is, you'll have the majority of them believing it in no time.
Parkour_Jarrod
Well the ideas of Islam were probably fine at the time they were made it just didnt factor in the change of the planet (the last century especially) so all Islam needs to do to survive as a democracy is manipulate there views and rules just enough to account for the changes in the world then we can all have a party and live in peace Dancing (for about 2 seconds d'oh! )
ThePolemistis
yagnyavalkya wrote:
What exactly is the relationship between Islam and democracy
Is it true that a country mainly Islamic can never be a democratic one
just because the rules of Islam are strict and does not allow free thought
Can Pakistan ever survive as a democracy?
Your views are welcome


Looking at todays events doesnt help the situation of Islam and democracy. This is because people often attribute current Islamic nations and their policies with shariah (islamic Law and jursiprudence). This is wrong for there is NO ISLAMIC NATION in today's world that lives by or honours the shariah law.

And within the shariah law, there are scopes of diversity. For instance, in Sunni you have the 4 schools of thought (imam shafi, humbali, malik, hanifa) . By following one school of thought, you are not commiting bida (wrong) against another. In fact, these scholars would follow the other teachings as a sign of respect.
And certainly if you look at the Islamic golden age, you would see the foundations of secular thought and elements of democracy. Most notably with Averrorism (Averroes - Ibn Rushd) whose philosophy gave way to secularism, and sparked the renaissance in Europe (as his work fell in European hands). Sure free speech was limited, but the free speech enjoyed by the Muslim world at that time was far greater than any other civilization. Look at the texts of Omar Khayyam whom, would had he been alive today, been put to death in today's Muslim nations. However, 1000 years ago, he lived in Muslim land and was "free" by them standards to write whatever he so willed. And there are ample more philosophers, poets and others whose work would be considered blasphermous to the highest degree today, but they managed to live in relative peace in the Muslim world back then.
Further, in Islamic text we also find elements of democracy for instance the case with Umar and the peasant women on the topic of bridal money.

But like I said, no Islamic nation of today is an Islamic nation.
My ansewr to your question regarding can Pakistan continue as a democracy is simple: If the West could just leave the middle East and the rest of the Islamic world alone then yes Islamic nations can be democracies. And there is proof of this: The Islamic Golden Age - in which i have discussed above. Sure they were not democracies but todays standards, but during their time, their civilization was an envy to the rest of the world.

And like I keep saying: No civilization maintains the balance of power for all times.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
If the West could just leave the middle East and the rest of the Islamic world alone then yes Islamic nations can be democracies. And there is proof of this: The Islamic Golden Age - in which i have discussed above. Sure they were not democracies but todays standards, but during their time, their civilization was an envy to the rest of the world.

And like I keep saying: No civilization maintains the balance of power for all times.


This is a little bizarre. Why would you blame the West for countries in the Middle East not being democratic? The cultures have always been completely different in the Middle East, there is no comparison here, and this is really not the West's fault. Is it really that bad not to have a democratic country? If the majority of the people are happy with it, why make it a big issue? If the majority would like a democratic Government in Pakistan, then perhaps that is for Pakistan to sort out, not the West? As far as I can see it is the military that is running the Government in Pakistan right now, not the politicians, and you can hardly blame the West for that!
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
If the West could just leave the middle East and the rest of the Islamic world alone then yes Islamic nations can be democracies. And there is proof of this: The Islamic Golden Age - in which i have discussed above. Sure they were not democracies but todays standards, but during their time, their civilization was an envy to the rest of the world.

And like I keep saying: No civilization maintains the balance of power for all times.


This is a little bizarre. Why would you blame the West for countries in the Middle East not being democratic? The cultures have always been completely different in the Middle East, there is no comparison here, and this is really not the West's fault. Is it really that bad not to have a democratic country? If the majority of the people are happy with it, why make it a big issue? If the majority would like a democratic Government in Pakistan, then perhaps that is for Pakistan to sort out, not the West? As far as I can see it is the military that is running the Government in Pakistan right now, not the politicians, and you can hardly blame the West for that!


Well look at the democracy in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia is not a democracy. Its regime (kingdom of saud) was established by the British.

Egypt is not a democracy. Yet Bush proclaims Egypt as a democracy with Housni Mubarak at helm for over 20 years, and elections he has rigged.

Jordan is not a democracy. Again its regime established by the Brits.

Saddam Hussein's Iraq was no democracy, but a regime established by the Americans.

The Taliban's Afghanistan was no democracy but a regime funded (£30 billion at least) by the Americans.

Neither the American Iraq or the American Afghanistan of today are democracies either.

Need I go on??/

Now lets look at the democracies in the Middle East:

Iran is a democracy - thanks to the Islamic revolution which got rid of teh American established puppet - shah of Iran. America got rid of Irans last true democracy in 1953 after the Iranians decided to nationalise their oil. The people of Iran in their masses voted for the reformist Khatemi prior to Ahmedinejhad who served 2 terms, with voter turn out of over 80% in some areas. He is running in the 2009 elections, hopefully he will get elected again.

Lebanon was a democracy (and hopefully still is). Thats because the Brits and Americans did not go there. But Israel bombed their country and their people, so not fully sure on its current situation.

Palestine is a democracy - Hamas was elected by the people. However, the West condemned the Palestinians for how they voted. Yet, the West continually supports the illegal, racist, zionist state of Israel which has killed far far more innocent civilians than Hamas. The people of Palestine voted for Hamas because of one thing Hamas would have provided them and that is freedom from the illegal occupation.


Now do you see. Leave the Middle East alone and there will be democracy.

Occupy the Middle East, and Iraq and Afghanistan are your examples of what nations would become.
The Middle Eastern people reject colonialism.

There are no people in the world who resist occupation more so than the Middle East. And they have every right to do so.
deanhills
Wow, where do you get this from?

ThePolemistis wrote:

Well look at the democracy in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia is not a democracy. Its regime (kingdom of saud) was established by the British.

A million years ago!!!! Saudi Arabia is one of the strongest countries in the Middle East from EVERY point of view (commercially, financially, industrially, education, infrastructure, roads, transportation), totally in control of its own country. It is not a democracy. The fact that it is not a democracy has nothing to do with the West. Saudi Arabia would be completely insulted by your point of view.

ThePolemistis wrote:
Egypt is not a democracy. Yet Bush proclaims Egypt as a democracy with Housni Mubarak at helm for over 20 years, and elections he has rigged.

Why do you say Egypt is not a democracy? What has it got to do with Bush? Think the Egyptians would not agree with you.

ThePolemistis wrote:
Jordan is not a democracy. Again its regime established by the Brits.

A million years ago. Jordan may not be a democracy, and could do with better Government, but it is a peaceful country with fair rulers.

ThePolemistis wrote:
Saddam Hussein's Iraq was no democracy, but a regime established by the Americans.

Where do you get this from?

ThePolemistis wrote:
The Taliban's Afghanistan was no democracy but a regime funded (£30 billion at least) by the Americans.

Come off it. Afghanistan has been raped left right and centre by Russia, everyone on their way to somewhere through Afghanistan. As far as I can see, things started to get better when Russia left, however then El Qaeda decided to start training camps in Afghanistan. Maybe you need to put some blame on them as well?

ThePolemistis wrote:
Neither the American Iraq or the American Afghanistan of today are democracies either.
I get the feeling you have something against the US? Sort of handy to blame everything on them?

Need I go on??/

Now lets look at the democracies in the Middle East:

ThePolemistis wrote:
Iran is a democracy - thanks to the Islamic revolution which got rid of teh American established puppet - shah of Iran. America got rid of Irans last true democracy in 1953 after the Iranians decided to nationalise their oil. The people of Iran in their masses voted for the reformist Khatemi prior to Ahmedinejhad who served 2 terms, with voter turn out of over 80% in some areas. He is running in the 2009 elections, hopefully he will get elected again.

Wow, were you there? Think some Iranians would find your version of the "independence" satirical!

ThePolemistis wrote:
Lebanon was a democracy (and hopefully still is). Thats because the Brits and Americans did not go there. But Israel bombed their country and their people, so not fully sure on its current situation.
Have you visited Lebanon recently? Things aren't good there. Quite a large percentage of the population is working in countries in the Middle East that are doing much better financially (undemocratic ones), working as slaves in restaurants and the service industries. A large number is emigrating to countries in Europe, North and South America. Two years ago were particularly bad for them. Government is impossible, nobody can start a business there as there is corruption everywhere. A VERY WEAK Government. I would rather have the Governments of the UAE, Qatar and Oman any day. Why are you so much against undemocratic Governments? If their Government systems work well, what is the problem with it? And why do you you have to apportion so much blame to external Governments?

ThePolemistis wrote:
Palestine is a democracy - Hamas was elected by the people. However, the West condemned the Palestinians for how they voted. Yet, the West continually supports the illegal, racist, zionist state of Israel which has killed far far more innocent civilians than Hamas. The people of Palestine voted for Hamas because of one thing Hamas would have provided them and that is freedom from the illegal occupation.

Palestine's democracy cannot be that perfect if they have to be kept upright by Hamas. If Hamas is going to continue to use the people of Palestine as a human shield, and train death squads for suicide missions, how long do you think the Palestinians are going to last, and how "perfect" is that democracy really????


ThePolemistis wrote:
Now do you see. Leave the Middle East alone and there will be democracy.

As far as I can see the Middle East is doing well with its links with the West and North America. Exporting oil is an enormous source of revenue for the Middle East, and the Middle East needs the West for transfer of technological skills and education. The creame of young Arab people are being trained in medicine, and all the professions abroad. Engineers are transferring valuable skills to local people through apprentices and contracts in the Middle East. There is lots of goodwill where I am, people who are working in a multi-cultural environment in peace and harmony, for global peace.
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:

A million years ago!!!! Saudi Arabia is one of the strongest countries in the Middle East from EVERY point of view (commercially, financially, industrially, education, infrastructure, roads, transportation), totally in control of its own country. It is not a democracy. The fact that it is not a democracy has nothing to do with the West. Saudi Arabia would be completely insulted by your point of view.


What kindof nation would deprive its female population from voting or driving - a basic right you would think?? Its human rights are woeful, and it is completely unIslamic with its wahebist views which is against other religions and even other sects of Islam other than its own.
With regards to economy, the unemployment rate > 30%. Its main economy is driven by oil (like 65%+). Saudi people have jobs in orgranisations doing nothing but simply filling the quota. And Saudi companies employ cheap labour around teh world, you may as well consider it slave labour.
And yes, Saudi Arabia not being a democracy is precisely because of the West. The British established the family of Saud (hence where the name Saudi comes from) after they turned their backs of King Faisal (whose cousin or brother they established in Jordan). The decendants of that same family established by the Brits rules Saudi Arabia even today.


deanhills wrote:

Why do you say Egypt is not a democracy? What has it got to do with Bush? Think the Egyptians would not agree with you.


Other than the fact that the current leader has ruled for 20 years+, and admitted to having rigged the elections in 87, and imprisoning his political opponents?
Bush hails Egypt as a democratic nation, a democratic symbol of teh Arab world.

deanhills wrote:

A million years ago. Jordan may not be a democracy, and could do with better Government, but it is a peaceful country with fair rulers.


More peaceful than the rest of the Middle East - true. But far from democratic. Human rights abuses are still common.

deanhills wrote:

ThePolemistis wrote:

Saddam Hussein's Iraq was no democracy, but a regime established by the Americans.

Where do you get this from?


The Americans and the British supported the Baa'th party.

deanhills wrote:

Come off it. Afghanistan has been raped left right and centre by Russia, everyone on their way to somewhere through Afghanistan. As far as I can see, things started to get better when Russia left, however then El Qaeda decided to start training camps in Afghanistan. Maybe you need to put some blame on them as well?


Yes sure Afghanisatan got better when USSR left - that is becasue they were free from occupation.
And they were not getting raped anymore than the Iraqis are getting raped by the Americans left, right and centre. Look at the state of Iraq today... It is worse now than under Saddam.

deanhills wrote:

I get the feeling you have something against the US? Sort of handy to blame everything on them?


yup I have a lot against American foriegn policy especially in the Middle East. It is mainly Anglo-American foreign policy though. That is not a crime is it?

deanhills wrote:

Wow, were you there? Think some Iranians would find your version of the "independence" satirical!


Well look at Iran now and compare it to when the Americans installed a puppet. Iran today makes their own cars, their own planes, have flew a satellite into space, is pursuing nuclear energy and has a diverse economy compared to other middle Eastern nations. It is the jewel of the middle East. Their achievement dwarf any other Middle Eastern nations (except Israel) by miles.


deanhills wrote:

Have you visited Lebanon recently? Things aren't good there. Quite a large percentage of the population is working in countries in the Middle East that are doing much better financially (undemocratic ones), working as slaves in restaurants and the service industries. A large number is emigrating to countries in Europe, North and South America. Two years ago were particularly bad for them. Government is impossible, nobody can start a business there as there is corruption everywhere. A VERY WEAK Government. I would rather have the Governments of the UAE, Qatar and Oman any day. Why are you so much against undemocratic Governments? If their Government systems work well, what is the problem with it? And why do you you have to apportion so much blame to external Governments?


Well, I was referring to the Lebonon before Israel bombed the sh!t out of it. Before the war, Beirut was the Paris of the Middle East. It had trade, strong banking sector and a flourishing in tourism. After the civil war of the 80s, Lebanon developed quite dramatically, and tensions between Christians and Muslims became almost non-existant - thanks partly due to Rafiq Hariri.

deanhills wrote:

Palestine's democracy cannot be that perfect if they have to be kept upright by Hamas. If Hamas is going to continue to use the people of Palestine as a human shield, and train death squads for suicide missions, how long do you think the Palestinians are going to last, and how "perfect" is that democracy really????


And how do you think the Palestinians would last if they did nothing? The Jews did nothing in WW2 - as Roald Dahl famously said, look what happened to them.

The Palestinians have themselves simply by existing, become human shields. Because Israel is a state that cares not about International Law, or the demands of the international humanitarian orgranisations. They use cluster bombs and uranium impleated bullets on an "unarmed and defenseless people".
What do you expect the Palestinians to do? Allow their land and their daughters get raped in their own back yard??
The occupation is illegal, and like all free people, they have every right to resist occupation.

And if the people voting Hamas is illegal, then surely the people who voted for Bush is a far greater crime.

deanhills wrote:

As far as I can see the Middle East is doing well with its links with the West and North America. Exporting oil is an enormous source of revenue for the Middle East, and the Middle East needs the West for transfer of technological skills and education. The creame of young Arab people are being trained in medicine, and all the professions abroad. Engineers are transferring valuable skills to local people through apprentices and contracts in the Middle East. There is lots of goodwill where I am, people who are working in a multi-cultural environment in peace and harmony, for global peace.


Iran is doing much better than any other Middle Eastern nation (except Israel), and that has no diplomatic or trade links with the US.
Exporting oil? They can't even dig the oil out of the ground themselves, and need help truning on the taps. Medicine? When most of the doctors (liek with the US) come from South Asia from countries such as Pakistan and India (inspiring cheap labour) and nurses from countries like the Phillipines. Technology? Are you referring to the car imported from Germany or from cars produced and engineered in Iran? Yet this same region founded modern medicine and where the greatest of civilizations have existed.. The region is in decline, and a failure of today

This is what the Middle Eastern nations with strong links with the US have become!! Can you really ignore the human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia simply because it is a friendly nation to the US/UK?
ocalhoun
ThePolemistis wrote:

What kindof nation would deprive its female population from voting or driving

An Arabic country, of course.
liljp617
And the US and numerous other countries until somewhat recently -.-
deanhills
Thanks for your detailed replies "ThePolemists". Will try and reply as best as I can:

Saudi Arabia
ThePolemistis wrote:
What kindof nation would deprive its female population from voting or driving - a basic right you would think?? Its human rights are woeful, and it is completely unIslamic with its wahebist views which is against other religions and even other sects of Islam other than its own.
With regards to economy, the unemployment rate > 30%. Its main economy is driven by oil (like 65%+). Saudi people have jobs in orgranisations doing nothing but simply filling the quota. And Saudi companies employ cheap labour around teh world, you may as well consider it slave labour.
And yes, Saudi Arabia not being a democracy is precisely because of the West. The British established the family of Saud (hence where the name Saudi comes from) after they turned their backs of King Faisal (whose cousin or brother they established in Jordan). The decendants of that same family established by the Brits rules Saudi Arabia even today.

I don't buy the excuse about the British. That is going back too far ago. I live in the present. If people in Saudi Arabia are unhappy with their Government, allow them to sort it out themselves. The standards that you are applying to the country is from the outside in. Ironically Western standards. I thought you argued that the Middle East needs to sort itself out without any outside interference?

Egypt
ThePolemistis wrote:
Other than the fact that the current leader has ruled for 20 years+, and admitted to having rigged the elections in 87, and imprisoning his political opponents?
Bush hails Egypt as a democratic nation, a democratic symbol of teh Arab world.
Bush is no longer the President of the US, and even while he was, people did not think much of his diplomacy in the Middle East. I am sure Egypt was not worried about it either. Egypt has a shortage of US dollars and its own currency is almost useless. Again, whether it is democratic, or autocratic, or a mixture, that is for Egypt to sort out, and I believe it is pretty much Egyptian all the way. I have a number of friends from Egypt working where I am, the situation in Egypt and Lebanon is pretty much the same. Lots of corruption, shortage of jobs and cash. Nothing to do with the West. Everything to do with Egyptians and Lebanese who don't have good Government.

Jordan
ThePolemistis wrote:
More peaceful than the rest of the Middle East - true. But far from democratic. Human rights abuses are still common.

The Government "as is" works a million times better than the ones in Lebanon and Egypt. Again, why this preoccupation about form of Government. Let the people work out their own way without interference of Militants.

Iraq
ThePolemistis wrote:
Saddam Hussein's Iraq was no democracy, but a regime established by the Americans. The Americans and the British supported the Baa'th party.

True. You are right. The British and French with assistance of the Americans also helped Iraq under Saddam Hussein to set up their WMA. And then it changed after Kuwait. But yes that was not good, and worse was the invasion of Iraq. I agree with you 100% on this one, that was an enormous act of aggression that should never have happened. But it did. People are trying to repair the damage.

Afghanistan
ThePolemistis wrote:
Yes sure Afghanisatan got better when USSR left - that is becasue they were free from occupation. And they were not getting raped anymore than the Iraqis are getting raped by the Americans left, right and centre. Look at the state of Iraq today... It is worse now than under Saddam.
Not a good answer. The one country has nothing to do with the other. Canadians are doing lots of good work in Afghanistan, and so do many other people. Afghanistan was already in big trouble before the USSR did its acts of destruction.

Lebanon
ThePolemistis wrote:
Well, I was referring to the Lebonon before Israel bombed the sh!t out of it. Before the war, Beirut was the Paris of the Middle East. It had trade, strong banking sector and a flourishing in tourism. After the civil war of the 80s, Lebanon developed quite dramatically, and tensions between Christians and Muslims became almost non-existant - thanks partly due to Rafiq Hariri.

You seem to be really living in the past! Lots has changed. Lebanon's citizens are Lebanese. Lebanon is the responsibility of its own citizens. No French to create Paris out of Beirut. Give it to the West and you can go down memory lane again. Keep it in the hands of the Lebanese, who are not good with Government, and you will never get Paris back again. So probably best to accept how things are right now. Lebanese are dealing with Lebanon their way as best as they can.
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:

I don't buy the excuse about the British. That is going back too far ago. I live in the present. If people in Saudi Arabia are unhappy with their Government, allow them to sort it out themselves. The standards that you are applying to the country is from the outside in. Ironically Western standards. I thought you argued that the Middle East needs to sort itself out without any outside interference?


Of course they hate it. Do you think women like not being able to drive? or having the ability to vote? You think the Muslim world loves being ruled by dictators and Anglo-American established puppet?
Yes, I do think that the Middle East needs to sort itself out without outside interference. I want the middle east to sort themselves out, but when the Americans fund a dictatorship such as Egypt with billions of dollars - in fact the second largest reciptant of aid after Israel - how can the people oppose such a brutal regime through a democractic process in a soecity that has the absense of such process?
And do you honestly think the people of the Middle East are not resisting their govts? Their voices are being silenced. There are many many people put in prisons of Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and throughout the middle East for being against their current govts.





deanhills wrote:

Bush is no longer the President of the US, and even while he was, people did not think much of his diplomacy in the Middle East. I am sure Egypt was not worried about it either. Egypt has a shortage of US dollars and its own currency is almost useless. Again, whether it is democratic, or autocratic, or a mixture, that is for Egypt to sort out, and I believe it is pretty much Egyptian all the way. I have a number of friends from Egypt working where I am, the situation in Egypt and Lebanon is pretty much the same. Lots of corruption, shortage of jobs and cash. Nothing to do with the West. Everything to do with Egyptians and Lebanese who don't have good Government.


Who is to blame? If there is a lot of corruption and a messy domestic policy, then surely the govt should be held to accountability and responsibilty. Their govt is funded by the United States. The only reasoning why they are surviving, the same goes for the Saudis, is because of the West. And the West imposed their puppets on the people. The people of the arab world did not choose their leaders, anymore than the French chose the Vichy govt (established by the Nazis) during WW2.


deanhills wrote:


The Government "as is" works a million times better than the ones in Lebanon and Egypt. Again, why this preoccupation about form of Government. Let the people work out their own way without interference of Militants.



I agree. I think Kemal Ataturk said it best: the military and religion shoudl never interfere with politics. I think that statement holds today, and I would like it to be implemented also. That is not that I disagree with Islamic laws, but simply because it would (by definition) be biased in favour of Muslims in a nation where there maybe (albeit small) non-Muslims.

But the govt of Jordan was established by the Brits. Do you know how their borders were drawn up? The Brits simply drew lines across a paper, and in one incidence the pencil slipped and it remained official line. I believe it was Lawrence of arabia and another women where involved in drawing their borders, and Weizemann (first israeli president) narrated this story to us as he was present.




deanhills wrote:

Not a good answer. The one country has nothing to do with the other. Canadians are doing lots of good work in Afghanistan, and so do many other people. Afghanistan was already in big trouble before the USSR did its acts of destruction.


By West, I mainly refer to Franco-Anglo-American foreign policy.
Canada doesn't start wars like her neighbour. And she didn't go into Iraq. Canadian people have different attitudes than American people. The majority don't want to be involved in Afghanistan and would hate their troops being anywhere outside their own borders.
How was Afghanistan in big trouble? Afghanistan was (dunno about now) one of the few countries that did not borrow from the outside world and hence the sanctions had little effect. Sure they were poor, but they were not in debt. And yea, before the Russians it was the Brits raping them left right and centre.
The situation in Afghanistan today is either the same or worse than pre-occupation. It would be wrong for you to say it is better.


deanhills wrote:

You seem to be really living in the past! Lots has changed. Lebanon's citizens are Lebanese. Lebanon is the responsibility of its own citizens. No French to create Paris out of Beirut. Give it to the West and you can go down memory lane again. Keep it in the hands of the Lebanese, who are not good with Government, and you will never get Paris back again. So probably best to accept how things are right now. Lebanese are dealing with Lebanon their way as best as they can.


Well Iraq and Afghanistan is in the hands of the West, I hope they also are not part of the "go down memory lane again" imagery you are talking about.
How can you say the Lebanese are no good with govt? Beirut was the Paris of the middle East when Lebanon was ruled by the Lebanese people. And this wasen't a million years ago, it was beforethe Israel-Lebanese conflict: From 1980s - 2005. And it was Hizbollah that ensured that lebonon belonged to the people of Lebanon and not Israel - ask any Christian, Muslim or any other Lebanese and he/she would agree that Hizbollah defended the borders of Lebanon from the Israeli onslaught in the 80s, 90s and even now.
Sure it maybe in a civil war now, but this hatred and enmity towards each other was brought about after Israel bombed their homes and their livlihoods.

But a question to you: as I have described that teh West have imposed leaders upon the Arab world, and I am sure you would agree with me that they have (even if its centuries ago, that same families rule teh arab worlds still). You talk about the people sorting their own govts out. Tell me how can this be achieved? How should the people of the arab world sort out their problems when their govts would slaughter you for opposing them (even if u protest peacefully) and these govts are getting full backing from the United States/Brits in terms of funds and military equipment?
ThePolemistis
ocalhoun wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:

What kindof nation would deprive its female population from voting or driving

An Arabic country, of course.


Precisely.

liljp617 wrote:

And the US and numerous other countries until somewhat recently


Come on this is the 21st century. Women rights have progressed since WW1. Of course, I don't expect the third world's rights for women to be on par with the developed world, but to deny women to drive and vote - the most basic necessity - should be a crime.
liljp617
ThePolemistis wrote:
liljp617 wrote:

And the US and numerous other countries until somewhat recently


Come on this is the 21st century. Women rights have progressed since WW1. Of course, I don't expect the third world's rights for women to be on par with the developed world, but to deny women to drive and vote - the most basic necessity - should be a crime.


Evidently people think it's a crime or we wouldn't waltz in their countries and start shooting like it's no big deal.

I think their stance towards women is ridiculous, but I'm not going to sit here and pretend my own country (and every other country/civilization) has had it right all along, because we haven't and still don't. It's silly to point and put such a negative connotation on a group of people who are denying many of the same rights the powerhouse countries did just 90 or so years ago.

No, it doesn't justify the way they run things, but you don't solve it by running in with guns and tanks or by condemning them to the point they get defensive and/or aggressive.
deanhills
liljp617 wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
liljp617 wrote:

And the US and numerous other countries until somewhat recently


Come on this is the 21st century. Women rights have progressed since WW1. Of course, I don't expect the third world's rights for women to be on par with the developed world, but to deny women to drive and vote - the most basic necessity - should be a crime.


Evidently people think it's a crime or we wouldn't waltz in their countries and start shooting like it's no big deal.

I think their stance towards women is ridiculous, but I'm not going to sit here and pretend my own country (and every other country/civilization) has had it right all along, because we haven't and still don't. It's silly to point and put such a negative connotation on a group of people who are denying many of the same rights the powerhouse countries did just 90 or so years ago.

No, it doesn't justify the way they run things, but you don't solve it by running in with guns and tanks or by condemning them to the point they get defensive and/or aggressive.


Thanks liljp617. This is a good insight. Especially the condemning part. That is right on the number and so true. Not all countries think the same, just like you said, sometimes people may even be more free in a limited Government by virtue of the Government not meddling with its people, than in a free country like the United States.
yagnyavalkya
THere is no religion that will survive if they undermine the importance of women
it shoudl be remembered that the women was the fist before man
or thats what the evolution of sex says
the mitochondrial inheritances is maintained true to type
women represent strength in Mankind
ocalhoun
yagnyavalkya wrote:
THere is no religion that will survive if they undermine the importance of women

Question: Is it Islam itself that devalues women, or is it the local culture?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:

Question: Is it Islam itself that devalues women, or is it the local culture?


Where I am in the Middle East Ocalhoun, there is not a difference between the two. Religion and culture are intertwined.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:

Question: Is it Islam itself that devalues women, or is it the local culture?


Where I am in the Middle East Ocalhoun, there is not a difference between the two. Religion and culture are intertwined.

Well, do the Islamic scriptures support oppressing women, or have the words been twisted to suit a culture that wants to?
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:

Question: Is it Islam itself that devalues women, or is it the local culture?


Where I am in the Middle East Ocalhoun, there is not a difference between the two. Religion and culture are intertwined.


Religion and culture are two seperate entities.
However, many people from the MiddleEast and South East Asia treat it as one. Most of Arab, Pakistani, Afghanistani culture (at least its traditional forms) goes against religion.
ThePolemistis
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:

Question: Is it Islam itself that devalues women, or is it the local culture?


Where I am in the Middle East Ocalhoun, there is not a difference between the two. Religion and culture are intertwined.

Well, do the Islamic scriptures support oppressing women, or have the words been twisted to suit a culture that wants to?


Depends on your definition of oppression. Would you consider men having at most 4 wives as an act of oppression against women? I believe that there is no single law that will fit all people. There would people in another part of the world in which women are dependant on men for financial reasons, and hence the necessity for the marriage to at most 4 women given that females would almost always outnumber the male population in a fair society.

And The Quranic and hadith are linguistical text - people would interpret it differently. The language of the Quran and hadith is arabic. A translation would still be nothing more than a translation. The Arabic language is very rich (and it has to be seeing that it is one of the oldest widest spoken languages in the world) and therefore undoubtably can be lost in translation.
However, the original text (arabic) exists, and thats the beauty. And in my personal opinion, I do not find any verse of the Quran that condones the oppression of women. If you can contradict me, then please quote the verse and translator you use, and give its proper context.
Bikerman
We've been here before. One can always produce 'interpretations' which support a particular viewpoint - Christians and Muslims do it all the time.

I could point to Sura 2;223 , 2:228 and so on.. but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the fact is that most Muslim countries do NOT treat women as equal to men today, despite how you might 'finesse' the Quran.
ThePolemistis
Bikerman wrote:
We've been here before. One can always produce 'interpretations' which support a particular viewpoint - Christians and Muslims do it all the time.

I could point to Sura 2;223 , 2:228 and so on.. but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the fact is that most Muslim countries do NOT treat women as equal to men today, despite how you might 'finesse' the Quran.


Yup, but would that be down to culture or down to religion?
Equality is linked with prosperity. The more a nation prospers, the more consious of equality it becomes. Surely you cannot blame religion for this?
Bikerman
ThePolemistis wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
We've been here before. One can always produce 'interpretations' which support a particular viewpoint - Christians and Muslims do it all the time.

I could point to Sura 2;223 , 2:228 and so on.. but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the fact is that most Muslim countries do NOT treat women as equal to men today, despite how you might 'finesse' the Quran.


Yup, but would that be down to culture or down to religion?
Equality is linked with prosperity. The more a nation prospers, the more consious of equality it becomes. Surely you cannot blame religion for this?
Well, since religions seem happy to claim credit for the good parts in society (how many times have I heard commentators saying that Western democracies owe much to Judeo-Christian morality?...too many!) then I think it is only fair that they also 'claim credit' for the bad parts.
ThePolemistis
Bikerman wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
We've been here before. One can always produce 'interpretations' which support a particular viewpoint - Christians and Muslims do it all the time.

I could point to Sura 2;223 , 2:228 and so on.. but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the fact is that most Muslim countries do NOT treat women as equal to men today, despite how you might 'finesse' the Quran.


Yup, but would that be down to culture or down to religion?
Equality is linked with prosperity. The more a nation prospers, the more consious of equality it becomes. Surely you cannot blame religion for this?
Well, since religions seem happy to claim credit for the good parts in society (how many times have I heard commentators saying that Western democracies owe much to Judeo-Christian morality?...too many!) then I think it is only fair that they also 'claim credit' for the bad parts.


Like I say so many times, women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive or vote. 1400 years ago during the days of Islam and many centuries later, Muslim women rode camels and even questioned laws set by the caliph and high officials (the famous being on dawry for women on marriage in which a peasant women challenged the law set by Umar - the second caliph).
So is the state of women today in Saudi Arabia and most of the Muslim world the cause of culture or the cause of religion?

Religion should be credited for both the good and the bad of laws - I agree with you on that. But religion should never be incorrectly credited, whether good or bad on laws that are a result entirely of culture or society/environment and absolutly none from religion, which seems to me what you are trying to do.

The Shariah is very strict on certain elements such as forbidding interest but on other areas such as apostasy, the shariah speaks nothing about (or lack of). It is thus in the opinions of the qadi or supreme leader (most likely with help from the schools of thoughts: hunafi, malaki, etc) to judge what is best on laws . However, if you were to analyse Shariah carefully, you will see most of its emphasis is placed on forgiveness and future prevention, and none on subjegation and/or oppression.

And no Muslim country rules on the basis of shariah and the closest example you will find of a shariah established govt is that by the "four rightly guided caliphs" (Abu bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali) who ruled the Islam world after the death of the Prophet, and perhaps the Islamic govts of the golden age. This period was the most democratic of its day - for instance Jews were treated far far better in Muslim Spain and teh rest of the Muslim world than any region of Christian Europe.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:

Like I say so many times, women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive or vote. 1400 years ago during the days of Islam and many centuries later, Muslim women rode camels and even questioned laws set by the caliph and high officials (the famous being on dawry for women on marriage in which a peasant women challenged the law set by Umar - the second caliph).
So is the state of women today in Saudi Arabia and most of the Muslim world the cause of culture or the cause of religion?

I saw a BBC program recently in which the current monarchy in Saudi Arabia is trying to introduce some changes. They realize that if they continue along these lines, that there would be a natural revolt. Whether they will succeed is another matter, but an interesting point was that they appointed a female minister in Government. I'm not sure but I think it is for Education. Women are really doing well in Oman in comparison, and are up and coming in the UAE and Qatar. Times are changing. One notices a total different woman from 2001 to today in the areas of the Middle East where I am. And at schools and Universities, women usually are far ahead of the males who are studying. Only sad part is of course that many of the families, even though they wish their women to be educated as professionals, i.e. medical doctors, business etc, prefer them to tend to their families after studies, and it is very difficult for them to go abroad to further their studies or specialist fields. Still lots of room for improvement, but I feel lots of progress have been made.
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:

Like I say so many times, women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive or vote. 1400 years ago during the days of Islam and many centuries later, Muslim women rode camels and even questioned laws set by the caliph and high officials (the famous being on dawry for women on marriage in which a peasant women challenged the law set by Umar - the second caliph).
So is the state of women today in Saudi Arabia and most of the Muslim world the cause of culture or the cause of religion?

I saw a BBC program recently in which the current monarchy in Saudi Arabia is trying to introduce some changes. They realize that if they continue along these lines, that there would be a natural revolt. Whether they will succeed is another matter, but an interesting point was that they appointed a female minister in Government. I'm not sure but I think it is for Education. Women are really doing well in Oman in comparison, and are up and coming in the UAE and Qatar. Times are changing. One notices a total different woman from 2001 to today in the areas of the Middle East where I am. And at schools and Universities, women usually are far ahead of the males who are studying. Only sad part is of course that many of the families, even though they wish their women to be educated as professionals, i.e. medical doctors, business etc, prefer them to tend to their families after studies, and it is very difficult for them to go abroad to further their studies or specialist fields. Still lots of room for improvement, but I feel lots of progress have been made.


I certainly hope you are right. I also read somewhere that the Saudis hoped to have elections with women participating also soon. However, they say the reason why they currently don't do it is because of security fears (understandable, seeing that the wahabist regime imposes strict dressing for women meaning that you do not know which women is which).

And yes, religion (Islam) makes the search for knowledge (worldly education) a "duty" for both men and women. However, it seems a custom in the Muslim world that a women would not pursue her profession after she gets married even if she is a doctor or whatever as you have pointed out.
Bikerman
ThePolemistis wrote:
Religion should be credited for both the good and the bad of laws - I agree with you on that. But religion should never be incorrectly credited, whether good or bad on laws that are a result entirely of culture or society/environment and absolutly none from religion, which seems to me what you are trying to do.
Well, you are wrong - I'm not trying to do that. You seem to think that you can separate culture from religion into two distinct 'entities'. I think that notion is mistaken. Of course Saudi-Arabian culture is distinct from other Muslim countries, but to pretend that it has nothing to do with religion is silly.
Quote:
And no Muslim country rules on the basis of shariah and the closest example you will find of a shariah established govt is that by the "four rightly guided caliphs" (Abu bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali) who ruled the Islam world after the death of the Prophet, and perhaps the Islamic govts of the golden age. This period was the most democratic of its day - for instance Jews were treated far far better in Muslim Spain and teh rest of the Muslim world than any region of Christian Europe.
Well, I actually have written on this period in defence of Muslims in the past, and I agree that it represents a 'golden period' for Islam. That does not alter the fact that many/most Muslim countries discriminate against women in a way which is seen by the west as entirely unacceptable. To simply blame this on society and culture, and seek to absolve religion from the mix, is disingenuous. The fact is that religion has been used as a justification for such practices. If you are saying that the Quran does not support such practices then I think you have a point, but it is debatable - as I have repeatedly said, there are several parts of the Quran that suggest women ARE inferior to men. If you look back to the 'golden period' you will find that women were certainly NOT treated as equals.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
I certainly hope you are right. I also read somewhere that the Saudis hoped to have elections with women participating also soon. However, they say the reason why they currently don't do it is because of security fears (understandable, seeing that the wahabist regime imposes strict dressing for women meaning that you do not know which women is which).

I think they will have little choice in this. Women may be wearing black abayas and veils, but behind those are pretty thoroughly educated and ambitious women, doing extremely well, positively so. It will be like in Oman and the UAE. You can't hold them back indefinitely as in an environment where you need skilled people in Government and Industry, you can't ignore the women, who generally seem to be doing better academically than their male counterparts by a large margin.

I was wondering why you have not mentioned Iran yet? As women are very much restricted there still and not doing that well either.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
The fact is that religion has been used as a justification for such practices.

Used by what or by whom?
I'm guessing that religion was merely an accomplice or a tool, not the real culprit of where this 'oppression' (for lack of a better word) came from.
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
The fact is that religion has been used as a justification for such practices.

Used by what or by whom?
Used by Imams and preachers throughout Islam to justify sexist practises. Used by families to justify 'honour killings'. Used by states to impose a version of Sharia which is deeply sexist.
Quote:
I'm guessing that religion was merely an accomplice or a tool, not the real culprit of where this 'oppression' (for lack of a better word) came from.
Well, you can always say that about any religion because scriptures can always be 'reinterpreted'.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
I'm guessing that religion was merely an accomplice or a tool, not the real culprit of where this 'oppression' (for lack of a better word) came from.

From where I am I can't see it as separate. It's just everywhere, teaching, law, families, medicine, everything. People would be horrified if they would have to think that Islam could ever be separate from any part of their lives. Even their greetings are sincerely Islam.
ThePolemistis
Bikerman wrote:

Well, I actually have written on this period in defence of Muslims in the past, and I agree that it represents a 'golden period' for Islam. That does not alter the fact that many/most Muslim countries discriminate against women in a way which is seen by the west as entirely unacceptable. To simply blame this on society and culture, and seek to absolve religion from the mix, is disingenuous. The fact is that religion has been used as a justification for such practices. If you are saying that the Quran does not support such practices then I think you have a point, but it is debatable - as I have repeatedly said, there are several parts of the Quran that suggest women ARE inferior to men. If you look back to the 'golden period' you will find that women were certainly NOT treated as equals.


Nice of u to appreciate the Islamic golden age.
But Of course, you look at women today even in the developed nations, and they certainly are not treated as equals. For instance, women are under-respresented in parliament or house of lords.

And If you really want to compare women equality during the golden age, lets compare it with teh British common law of merely 150 years ago where the right for divorce was exclusively for men and later for women of extreme nobility. Even then it had to go thru parliament. Or even where when a women would get married, everything she owned would become the property of her husbands.
Under Islam, the divorce is allowed for women and men and whatever a women owns before a marriage is retained by her during and after the marriage.

Again yes, the Quranic statements are debatable. The "inferiority" was regarding business transactions only (the need for two female witnesses for one man) because at that time men dealt with the financial side of things, but also, as the verse states "if one women errs, the other can correct" referring to giving evidence as they may shy (seeing that scoeity and wealth was in the hands of men/husband at that time). But sure this is debatable: but honestly, I think you need to put the sentences within context to understand the meaning behind it. Without context, you can make it mean anything.


deanhills wrote:

I think they will have little choice in this. Women may be wearing black abayas and veils, but behind those are pretty thoroughly educated and ambitious women, doing extremely well, positively so. It will be like in Oman and the UAE. You can't hold them back indefinitely as in an environment where you need skilled people in Government and Industry, you can't ignore the women, who generally seem to be doing better academically than their male counterparts by a large margin.


I'm not sure about women outperforming men academically because that is debatable. I think there are subejcts which women outperform men, but there are subjects in which men outperform women. For instance, IT and programming sector, women lag behind. ANd overall they are equal (as the Quran states: God created women equal to man in this sense)
But I agree that women contirbute >50% of a nations population. And a nation cannot prosper without women prospering. A society needs women more so than it needs men. And the need for learned women is perhaps greater than the need for learned men.


deanhills wrote:


I was wondering why you have not mentioned Iran yet? As women are very much restricted there still and not doing that well either.


Iranian women have more freedoms than Arab women. They can drive, vote and become MPs. Its way off perfect, but it is better. And Pakistani women have greater freedoms than both Iranian and Arab women. Malaysian even more (I think).

Bikerman wrote:

Used by Imams and preachers throughout Islam to justify sexist practises. Used by families to justify 'honour killings'. Used by states to impose a version of Sharia which is deeply sexist.


What imam/preacher justifies honour killings? Honour killings are nothing of Islam, and I doubt you would find a single imam to condone honour killings. This is an example of what is from culture.
And Why have you branded honour killings under religion? Surely that should be under nationalism?

But I agree with you that most imam/preachers version of the Shariah is sexist - i.e. they would apply strict dress codes for women, but not for men.

Bikerman wrote:

Well, you can always say that about any religion because scriptures can always be 'reinterpreted'.


They can be reinterpreted as much as constitutions and laws can be reinterpreted. They are on the same platform.


deanhills wrote:

From where I am I can't see it as separate. It's just everywhere, teaching, law, families, medicine, everything. People would be horrified if they would have to think that Islam could ever be separate from any part of their lives. Even their greetings are sincerely Islam.


I don't see anything wrong with bridging Islam with daily life, nor do I think it is harmful.
For instance, with regards to the greeting which you mentioned: the Islamic greeting is "peace be upon you" or at the minimal "peace". Is tehre a greeting better than greeting someone with "peace"? Is "hello" superior? I know which I would prefer. And is it harmful by greeting someone with "peace"?
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
I'm not sure about women outperforming men academically because that is debatable. I think there are subejcts which women outperform men, but there are subjects in which men outperform women. For instance, IT and programming sector, women lag behind. ANd overall they are equal (as the Quran states: God created women equal to man in this sense)
But I agree that women contirbute >50% of a nations population. And a nation cannot prosper without women prospering. A society needs women more so than it needs men. And the need for learned women is perhaps greater than the need for learned men.


I know it sounds difficult to believe but you are wrong here. It would be an interesting study, but for all the reasons you have already mentioned, it would be very difficult for a research study like that to be conducted. Women outperform men scholastically and academically, BUT men are more masterful in the social area of managing people and of course are chief and charge in their families, they have their role carved out for them. Some of the women are coming in their own in the area of management in society too, but are still lagging far behind the men in total because of social restrictions. Amongst one another however, i.e. woman to woman, you find immensely powerful women in the Middle East.

ThePolemistis wrote:

I don't see anything wrong with bridging Islam with daily life, nor do I think it is harmful.
Neither do I.
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
I'm not sure about women outperforming men academically because that is debatable. I think there are subejcts which women outperform men, but there are subjects in which men outperform women. For instance, IT and programming sector, women lag behind. ANd overall they are equal (as the Quran states: God created women equal to man in this sense)
But I agree that women contirbute >50% of a nations population. And a nation cannot prosper without women prospering. A society needs women more so than it needs men. And the need for learned women is perhaps greater than the need for learned men.


I know it sounds difficult to believe but you are wrong here. It would be an interesting study, but for all the reasons you have already mentioned, it would be very difficult for a research study like that to be conducted. Women outperform men scholastically and academically, BUT men are more masterful in the social area of managing people and of course are chief and charge in their families, they have their role carved out for them. Some of the women are coming in their own in the area of management in society too, but are still lagging far behind the men in total because of social restrictions. Amongst one another however, i.e. woman to woman, you find immensely powerful women in the Middle East.


Statistics have shown that women outperform men overall acadamically. However, like you said it would be difficult to make a logical assumption from this because this performance comprises of many subjects of which have many different ways of testing (for instance practical coursework).

I agree with you that men have a mastery in teh social area such as managing and taking charge. The Quran also talks about on this very topic - but Bikerman perceived this as "sexist/oppression against women" in one of our discussions many months back. I think equality in sexes is relating to the general sense, and there are evident and nurmous differences between men and women, in which men excel women and women excel men.

I think also the fact that women, living in a soceity dominated by men, would tehrefore have to work twice as hard to be in the same position as for a man. This is perhaps also the reason why you claim they are "immensely powerful"
deanhills wrote:

ThePolemistis wrote:

I don't see anything wrong with bridging Islam with daily life, nor do I think it is harmful.
Neither do I.


Thats nice to hear Smile
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
I agree with you that men have a mastery in teh social area such as managing and taking charge. The Quran also talks about on this very topic - but Bikerman perceived this as "sexist/oppression against women" in one of our discussions many months back.

I don't see it necessarily as oppression "against women", but I do see it as a restriction that is not going to last that long anymore as educated women are not as comfortable in that subservient role any longer. Previously they took that role as given by Islam and something that cannot be argued with, but education is changing that. Not only is education changing the view of women of themselves, but also of men of women and society of women in its overall. Dynamics are changing all the time.

Regarding the areas where men are excelling, i.e. management, I hope you did not misunderstand me. That is not necessarily a natural phenomenon. Men are given that role by religion and society, and that does not necessarily mean that they deserve it all the time or are necessarily gifted at it. If you grow up in a family where your role model of a woman is treated in a subservient role and the male members of the family as the chosen ones and your father is making all the decisions, then of course you will naturally emulate that in society. Women are brilliant managers in their areas of expertise. When they get to the area of public management, just as with their counterparts in the West, they have to be triple as good at what they are to compete with men, and here they try not to give the impression that they are competing, as obviously that would be to their disadvantage. So since they have to be that much shrewder and competent, perhaps they are growing faster than their male counterparts.
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
I agree with you that men have a mastery in teh social area such as managing and taking charge. The Quran also talks about on this very topic - but Bikerman perceived this as "sexist/oppression against women" in one of our discussions many months back.

I don't see it necessarily as oppression "against women", but I do see it as a restriction that is not going to last that long anymore as educated women are not as comfortable in that subservient role any longer. Previously they took that role as given by Islam and something that cannot be argued with, but education is changing that. Not only is education changing the view of women of themselves, but also of men of women and society of women in its overall. Dynamics are changing all the time.

Regarding the areas where men are excelling, i.e. management, I hope you did not misunderstand me. That is not necessarily a natural phenomenon. Men are given that role by religion and society, and that does not necessarily mean that they deserve it all the time or are necessarily gifted at it. If you grow up in a family where your role model of a woman is treated in a subservient role and the male members of the family as the chosen ones and your father is making all the decisions, then of course you will naturally emulate that in society. Women are brilliant managers in their areas of expertise. When they get to the area of public management, just as with their counterparts in the West, they have to be triple as good at what they are to compete with men, and here they try not to give the impression that they are competing, as obviously that would be to their disadvantage. So since they have to be that much shrewder and competent, perhaps they are growing faster than their male counterparts.


I also hope you didnt misunderstand me. The areas men where excelling (management), I was referring to protection (warfare) more than business. At at the end of teh day, humans are animals, and like all animals, it is the male species that protects the young and his mate. Humans are no different in this regard. ANd hence, I believe that men are the protectors of women as their bodies are also adapted for this role. For instance, if a robber came to rob a house and the only people in there was the wife and husband, then the husband would do his best to protect the family and take charge and use appropraite resources (ie. a baseball bat) but it would never be assumed that the wife should do this.
With business management/human resources, sure women can make excellent managers. THe Prophets first wife was a business women, and his manager. So Islam is not against women in business and managerial roles. This is another example of what is down to culture and not religion.
Bikerman
ThePolemistis wrote:
I also hope you didnt misunderstand me. The areas men where excelling (management), I was referring to protection (warfare) more than business. At at the end of teh day, humans are animals, and like all animals, it is the male species that protects the young and his mate. Humans are no different in this regard.
Where did you get that idea from? It is quite wrong.
If you look through the animal kingdom you will find that the female often is the 'primary defender' of the 'family group'. The primary role of the male is often little more than attracting and keeping a mate. The idea of warfare as 'protection' is also very questionable. In any war it is often the 'innocent' women and children who suffer.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
I also hope you didnt misunderstand me. The areas men where excelling (management), I was referring to protection (warfare) more than business. At at the end of teh day, humans are animals, and like all animals, it is the male species that protects the young and his mate. Humans are no different in this regard. ANd hence, I believe that men are the protectors of women as their bodies are also adapted for this role. For instance, if a robber came to rob a house and the only people in there was the wife and husband, then the husband would do his best to protect the family and take charge and use appropraite resources (ie. a baseball bat) but it would never be assumed that the wife should do this.
With business management/human resources, sure women can make excellent managers. THe Prophets first wife was a business women, and his manager. So Islam is not against women in business and managerial roles. This is another example of what is down to culture and not religion.

I actually did misunderstand you so thanks for explaining it to me. I thought that there were women fighting in the armed forces in certain Middle East countries as well? Some of the most notorious terrorists have been women from the Middle East? How about Leila Khaled for example?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leila_Khaled

Nice image though of men taking care of their mates, but perhaps some women have worked hard for something different for themselves and I have admiration for that also. World seems to be changing all the time.
ThePolemistis
Bikerman wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
I also hope you didnt misunderstand me. The areas men where excelling (management), I was referring to protection (warfare) more than business. At at the end of teh day, humans are animals, and like all animals, it is the male species that protects the young and his mate. Humans are no different in this regard.
Where did you get that idea from? It is quite wrong.
If you look through the animal kingdom you will find that the female often is the 'primary defender' of the 'family group'. The primary role of the male is often little more than attracting and keeping a mate. The idea of warfare as 'protection' is also very questionable. In any war it is often the 'innocent' women and children who suffer.


The female is the prime defender in terms of upbringing for young jus as in humans. For instance, they will provide food for young, and may hunt prey.
However, the male in the animal species is the one that physically protects the female/young from other males jus like the human species.
The males attracting the females would probably be the only difference in regards to the human species (esp in Western culture where pictures of half-naked women are on the covers of magazines grossly improportionate to the half-naked men despite an almost 50:50 gender population), but in terms of Islamic "culture" where women are fully dressed, the men behave just like the animal species in this regard.

deanhills wrote:

I actually did misunderstand you so thanks for explaining it to me. I thought that there were women fighting in the armed forces in certain Middle East countries as well? Some of the most notorious terrorists have been women from the Middle East? How about Leila Khaled for example?


I believe in Islam, that women are not allowed to have a direct role in the battlefield (ie. fighting), however, they are allowed to give orders in the battlefield
(as seen by Ayesha - wife of Prophet - when she commanded the Muslim army after the death of the Prophet. It may have been the first ever in history where the women commanded an army of men. I think when Ayesha ordered her men to retreat, the men did not listen and Abu Bakr (Prophets best friend) who was by her side stated "obey the mother of the belivers. After which her men obeyed the order.).

Of course, in my opinion also (as obviously I do not regard Islamic law - from my interpretation at elast - to be oppressive) I do not think women should have a direct physical role on the battlefield. This is in the nature of their bodies and also that their bodies are to produce young rather than to fight to defend the family, as is teh case with the men. I think women's body may also be more emotional/fragile - as I think the dropout rates in army is 7 times more (check this figure - i think i read it like many years back so can't provide quote) in women than in men - although this maybe also be down to prominence of male culture and sexism.

On the subject of Leila Khaled : She is no doubt a freedom fighter. I would support anyone who wants to fight against oppression, man, women or child and doe not kill innocent civilians in the process.
And her actions are different to conventional warfare (or the law of Islam on warfare I described above): The main reasons being that the 1969 hijackings did not kill anyone or take place in the battlefield.
Bikerman
ThePolemistis wrote:
The female is the prime defender in terms of upbringing for young jus as in humans. For instance, they will provide food for young, and may hunt prey.
However, the male in the animal species is the one that physically protects the female/young from other males jus like the human species.
The males attracting the females would probably be the only difference in regards to the human species (esp in Western culture where pictures of half-naked women are on the covers of magazines grossly improportionate to the half-naked men despite an almost 50:50 gender population), but in terms of Islamic "culture" where women are fully dressed, the men behave just like the animal species in this regard.
This is a bizarre and incorrect view of the animal kingdom. In many species the male does nothing at all to 'protect' the females and young - in fact rather the opposite. In other species the role of the male as 'defender' is entirely to do with ensuring the genetic inheritance of that male by stopping the females breeding with other males. If you seriously think that male humans do, or should, behave like animals then you have a rather bleak view of society.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
This is in the nature of their bodies and also that their bodies are to produce young rather than to fight to defend the family, as is teh case with the men.

Human species are evolving all the time, both socially and physically. Many women are forced to defend their families and young ones, sometimes even against abusive husbands. The latter has resulted in greater education for women, including physical and mental training to protect themselves and their young ones. Perhaps the balance between male and female is changing as well, women becoming physically more fit and stronger than they used to be. It is no longer a luxury to have a second breadwinner in the family, but a necessity. This is reason in its own right for women to become more knowledgeable about the world around them, competing with other women and men in the work environment, looking after themselves better physically, and trying to ensure at the same time that their sons and daughters will have greater opportunities through improved education.
Bikerman
The whole argument is based on shaky foundations.
Firstly we are supposed to think that because in nature certain things happen that this is somehow a 'natural' or even desirable state for humans. Well, let's break that down:
a) It simply isn't true that all males in nature are the primary defender of the females and young.
b) Even if it were true then why should we use that as a model for human behaviour? Animals routinely kill injured or weak offspring (either by neglect or direct action). Is this something humans should copy?
c) The notion that male humans have some sort of special status as defender of spouse and offspring is rooted in historically sexist thinking rather than practical necessity. I have never had to fight on behalf of my wife and I suspect that applies to the huge majority of husbands. One can quite easily make the case that if women are given a greater role in shaping a society then wars would be far less likely. Even if not the case then women fight alongside men in many national armies (including the US, UK and Israeli armies) and I really don't see why there should be any issue.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
c) The notion that male humans have some sort of special status as defender of spouse and offspring is rooted in historically sexist thinking rather than practical necessity. I have never had to fight on behalf of my wife and I suspect that applies to the huge majority of husbands. One can quite easily make the case that if women are given a greater role in shaping a society then wars would be far less likely. Even if not the case then women fight alongside men in many national armies (including the US, UK and Israeli armies) and I really don't see why there should be any issue.


You've put it much better than me Chris, and I totally support your point of view. Especially the last one with regard to women given a greater role in shaping society and how this could result in greater peace.
ThePolemistis
[quote="Bikerman"]The whole argument is based on shaky foundations.
Firstly we are supposed to think that because in nature certain things happen that this is somehow a 'natural' or even desirable state for humans. Well, let's break that down:
Bikerman wrote:

a) It simply isn't true that all males in nature are the primary defender of the females and young.


Generally, I believe so.

Bikerman wrote:

b) Even if it were true then why should we use that as a model for human behaviour? Animals routinely kill injured or weak offspring (either by neglect or direct action). Is this something humans should copy?


Humans have killed far more of their own species and other species than any other animal of the animal kingdom. Humans constantly kill off injured or weak offspring- how do you think we get oppression and resistance?
I do not see how you can explain human to hav a upper hand on this argument.

Bikerman wrote:

c) The notion that male humans have some sort of special status as defender of spouse and offspring is rooted in historically sexist thinking rather than practical necessity. I have never had to fight on behalf of my wife and I suspect that applies to the huge majority of husbands. One can quite easily make the case that if women are given a greater role in shaping a society then wars would be far less likely. Even if not the case then women fight alongside men in many national armies (including the US, UK and Israeli armies) and I really don't see why there should be any issue.


My argument is that the male human species has become the defender of spouse and offspring due to the way his body has adapted, and teh female species is able to produce young due to the way her body has adapted to. This is not sexist or tradition, it is human evolution.
Whether you have fought on behalf of your wife or not is irrelevant becasue you have not been faced with that scenario. But put yourself in this scenario: someone has broken into your house, and he/she may do harm to you or your spouse. WHo will be the one with the baseball bat acting as a preventative/precautionary measure to defend themself and their partner (i.e. both of you are in danger not just one)?

And secondly, also explain to me why there are huge distinctions between the crimes commited by female prisoners and the crimes commited by male prisoners from the prison population? The female prisoner would usually be sent down for theft but the man would be down for assault? Also why does the female population in prisons sum just 7% and the male population the remainder - I give way that there might be favouritism but with an almsot 50:50 population I doubt that the favourism is that great. And why do most rape cases involve men raping women and not women raping men.

The ansewr is simple: Physically, the female is the weaker sex. Biologically, the male is the weaker sex.
ThePolemistis
[quote="Bikerman"]The whole argument is based on shaky foundations.
Firstly we are supposed to think that because in nature certain things happen that this is somehow a 'natural' or even desirable state for humans. Well, let's break that down:
Bikerman wrote:

a) It simply isn't true that all males in nature are the primary defender of the females and young.


Generally, I believe so.

Bikerman wrote:

b) Even if it were true then why should we use that as a model for human behaviour? Animals routinely kill injured or weak offspring (either by neglect or direct action). Is this something humans should copy?


Humans have killed far more of their own species and other species than any other animal of the animal kingdom. Humans constantly kill off injured or weak offspring- how do you think we get oppression and resistance?
I do not see how you can explain human to hav a upper hand on this argument.

Bikerman wrote:

c) The notion that male humans have some sort of special status as defender of spouse and offspring is rooted in historically sexist thinking rather than practical necessity. I have never had to fight on behalf of my wife and I suspect that applies to the huge majority of husbands. One can quite easily make the case that if women are given a greater role in shaping a society then wars would be far less likely. Even if not the case then women fight alongside men in many national armies (including the US, UK and Israeli armies) and I really don't see why there should be any issue.


My argument is that the male human species has become the defender of spouse and offspring due to the way his body has adapted, and teh female species is able to produce young due to the way her body has adapted to. This is not sexist or tradition, it is human evolution.
Whether you have fought on behalf of your wife or not is irrelevant becasue you have not been faced with that scenario. But put yourself in this scenario: someone has broken into your house, and he/she may do harm to you or your spouse. WHo will be the one with the baseball bat acting as a preventative/precautionary measure to defend themself and their partner (i.e. both of you are in danger not just one)?

And secondly, also explain to me why there are huge disparities between the crimes commited by female prisoners and the crimes commited by male prisoners from the prison population? The female prisoner would usually be sent down for theft but the man would be down for assault? Also why does the female population in prisons sum just 7% and the male population the remainder - I give way that there might be favouritism but with an almsot 50:50 population I doubt that the favourism is that great. And why do most rape cases involve men raping women and not women raping men. And don't blame it on sexual maturity - both want sex as bad as the other - except one would be willing to go the extra mile (maybe out of spite, revenge or pure fun) to take measures in his own hands.

The ansewr is simple: Physically, the female is the weaker sex. Biologically, the male is the weaker sex.
Bikerman
ThePolemistis wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
The whole argument is based on shaky foundations.
Firstly we are supposed to think that because in nature certain things happen that this is somehow a 'natural' or even desirable state for humans. Well, let's break that down:
a) It simply isn't true that all males in nature are the primary defender of the females and young.
Generally, I believe so.
I can give numerous examples where it is not the case if you like.
Quote:
Humans have killed far more of their own species and other species than any other animal of the animal kingdom. Humans constantly kill off injured or weak offspring- how do you think we get oppression and resistance?
I do not see how you can explain human to hav a upper hand on this argument.
Civilised societies are those which surpass mere animal instict and go beyond 'natural law'. Civilised people do NOT constantly kill off injured or weak offspring - we call it murder.
Quote:
My argument is that the male human species has become the defender of spouse and offspring due to the way his body has adapted, and teh female species is able to produce young due to the way her body has adapted to. This is not sexist or tradition, it is human evolution.
Again you are reverting to an animalistic model for human behaviour. Why? Do you seriously contend that we are slaves to our biology and instincts? That is obviously not true. The human body has all sorts of limitations that we routinely overcome by use of machinery and technology. Human societies have all sorts of rules and codes that supercede any 'natural' instincts and 'inherent' animal tendancies. That is what we call civilisation.
You appear to be saying that the Islamic view of humans is as some animalistic slave to biological urges and physical limitations. That is a deeply uncivilised and dangerous view.

The argument that males are generally more violent that females is true but not really relevant to this discussion. You do not base the laws and codes of a civilised society on the basis that women should be treated as inferior simply because men tend to display more violence. The assumption that women want violent protectors seems completely untrue to me - most women I have come across who live with violent partners want to get out of the relationship. The notion that the Islamic 'model' somehow provides women with more protection than the western 'equality' based model is simply nonsense. Domestic violence is a major problem in many, if not most, countries with a majority Islamic population. In fact the Quran is often used to justify wife beating.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/w2ku8tbrytwy6xnr/

Now, of course you will say that the Quran does not justify this sort of wife-beating, genital mutilation and honour killing. I would actually agree with that. The problem is, however, that societies supposedly based on Islamic teachings DO practice these barbaraties and part of that is because women have a traditional role in Islam that IS subservient to the male - no matter how much you try to justify this in terms of 'biological' imperatives.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
The problem is, however, that societies supposedly based on Islamic teachings DO practice these barbaraties and part of that is because women have a traditional role in Islam that IS subservient to the male - no matter how much you try to justify this in terms of 'biological' imperatives.
Agreed, and also that all of this is in a process of changing, thanks to education of women in the Middle East, although at a very slow pace. Part of the reason is not only their suppression by society, but their own perception of their role in a submissive capacity to their husbands, brothers and fathers. I was completely bowled over when I read the News Paper this weekend about a University debate of a Law Society where women stood up and debated their role as being completely capable, in fact more capable than men to be leaders in the country. Thing is, they really have a good point. Perhaps the very reason that they have struggles in comparison with your males who tend to receive everything in society on a golden plate, from the minute that they are born, women have to fight for their place and thereby grow stronger, tougher and more resilient making them stronger material for leadership. I've seen an enormous change in women becoming more outspoken here, not in an aggressive way, but in an assertive way. I've seen some of the women here passionate with ambition, bursting with ideas, and change is happening, perhaps in a better way in the West to a certain extent, as they are doing it subtly without standing on soap boxes.

As far as I can see of course, as of course women are much more vulnerable here, and you do get men who abuse their power over women, like you do all over the world. And you do not find the same kind of support for women who are victims of violence as you do in the West. It is completely hushed up. If the woman is from a very good supporting family, they may remove her from the home of the husband, and try and get a divorce for her. That sometimes takes years to organize. Lots of progress has been made, but it is still far from perfect.
ThePolemistis
Bikerman wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
The whole argument is based on shaky foundations.
Firstly we are supposed to think that because in nature certain things happen that this is somehow a 'natural' or even desirable state for humans. Well, let's break that down:
a) It simply isn't true that all males in nature are the primary defender of the females and young.
Generally, I believe so.
I can give numerous examples where it is not the case if you like.
Quote:
Humans have killed far more of their own species and other species than any other animal of the animal kingdom. Humans constantly kill off injured or weak offspring- how do you think we get oppression and resistance?
I do not see how you can explain human to hav a upper hand on this argument.
Civilised societies are those which surpass mere animal instict and go beyond 'natural law'. Civilised people do NOT constantly kill off injured or weak offspring - we call it murder.
Quote:
My argument is that the male human species has become the defender of spouse and offspring due to the way his body has adapted, and teh female species is able to produce young due to the way her body has adapted to. This is not sexist or tradition, it is human evolution.
Again you are reverting to an animalistic model for human behaviour. Why? Do you seriously contend that we are slaves to our biology and instincts? That is obviously not true. The human body has all sorts of limitations that we routinely overcome by use of machinery and technology. Human societies have all sorts of rules and codes that supercede any 'natural' instincts and 'inherent' animal tendancies. That is what we call civilisation.
You appear to be saying that the Islamic view of humans is as some animalistic slave to biological urges and physical limitations. That is a deeply uncivilised and dangerous view.

The argument that males are generally more violent that females is true but not really relevant to this discussion. You do not base the laws and codes of a civilised society on the basis that women should be treated as inferior simply because men tend to display more violence. The assumption that women want violent protectors seems completely untrue to me - most women I have come across who live with violent partners want to get out of the relationship. The notion that the Islamic 'model' somehow provides women with more protection than the western 'equality' based model is simply nonsense. Domestic violence is a major problem in many, if not most, countries with a majority Islamic population. In fact the Quran is often used to justify wife beating.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/w2ku8tbrytwy6xnr/

Now, of course you will say that the Quran does not justify this sort of wife-beating, genital mutilation and honour killing. I would actually agree with that. The problem is, however, that societies supposedly based on Islamic teachings DO practice these barbaraties and part of that is because women have a traditional role in Islam that IS subservient to the male - no matter how much you try to justify this in terms of 'biological' imperatives.





The only thing that differentiates humans from the rest of the animals is the idea of rational reasoning leading to this idea of civilisation. The example I gave of violence was in a "uncivilised" state: robbery should not be justified in society. And hence the need for self defense. You cannot fight a gross uncivilised act through civilised means, for instance, you cannot pick up the pen of diplomacy in the battlefield when the other side is using the sword of violence and aggression - you'll be dead before you get the chance. That is not to say you must lower yourself to what the other side says and does, but rather you can "fight back" in self-defence but only until you free yourself from this danger and do it through the minimum possible use of uncivilised acts (since killing will never be a justified act in any civilised soceity)

With regards to Islamic view (or any law in fact), I am saying that there exists conditions in which the human goes into the uncivilised state (someone commits an act of aggression). And to combat this uncivilised state, we must revert to the physical/biological nature within us for self defence. The law of the civilised land will no longer apply for this brief period as self-defence takes over. The extent of this self-defence should be enough that releases you from danger, and nothing more.
SO back to the topic of when I said men are protectors of women: it is related to protection and in the uncivilised state only. Men are not the protectors of women in any other case! For instance and liek I said before, the Shariah states that what a women owns before a marriage (property, assets, wealth etc), is hers during the marriage and remains hers after the marriage. The man in this case does not become the "protector" of everything she owns - And the (civilised?) English common law of the 18th century did not have this. Anotehr example is that Islam permits divorce for women - if men were the protectors of women in all aspects, then how would women be able to divorce?

Sure quote the Quran how you want, but if you don't put it in context, it won't make sense. I'm sorry but you have a very limited view on Islamic Law and Jurisprudence and Islamic/Quranic history and this hinders you from understanding the actual text fully. You take one sentence and take it literally and state Islam oppresses women. But Islam was the first religion and law to limit the number of women a man can marry, to offer divorce for women, to allow women to own wealth/property before/after and during marriage, to allow them to give orders in the battlefield, to give them the right to vote (or at least speaking out), to make seeking knowledge their "duty", and more. These are liberties, and which are worth fighting for.

And back to your subejct on wife-beating and domestic violence in teh Muslim lands: Yes you are abdsolutely right that Islam is against this sort of wife-beating, genital mutulation and honour killings, and you are also right that the Muslim lands of today do suffer from these disgraceful acts. But like I said before, through prosperity comes equality: You look at Victorian Britain and you will see this wife-beating and domestic violence especially amongst social class in perhaps higher or equal proportions.
And while you have admitted that religion itself is not to blame, why are you blaming countries that are based on Islamic teaching (on their interpretation) for this? When again you are wrong to do this: genital mutulation is common in Africa (and not simply Muslim Africa) and yet very rare in Middle East, Honour killings is notorious in Pakistan/Saudi Arabia but rare in Turkey/Malaysia. And wife-beating is common in most developing nations (muslim or not) but rare amongst developed ones (even among Muslims living in the developed nations). I do not see your logic on how you have attributed interpretation of religious text for this.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
And while you have admitted that religion itself is not to blame, why are you blaming countries that are based on Islamic teaching (on their interpretation) for this? When again you are wrong to do this: genital mutulation is common in Africa (and not simply Muslim Africa) and yet very rare in Middle East, Honour killings is notorious in Pakistan/Saudi Arabia but rare in Turkey/Malaysia. And wife-beating is common in most developing nations (muslim or not) but rare amongst developed ones (even among Muslims living in the developed nations). I do not see your logic on how you have attributed interpretation of religious text for this.

I'm sorry, but this is barbaric in the extreme and I definitely do not agree with the statements that infer that since it is COMMON in those countries that that makes it OK. Wife beatings, genital mutilation and honour killing ARE wrong by any standard. Governments and societies in those countries have to protect their women more as what is being done to their women in this way is barbaric in the extreme by any standards.
ThePolemistis
deanhills wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
And while you have admitted that religion itself is not to blame, why are you blaming countries that are based on Islamic teaching (on their interpretation) for this? When again you are wrong to do this: genital mutulation is common in Africa (and not simply Muslim Africa) and yet very rare in Middle East, Honour killings is notorious in Pakistan/Saudi Arabia but rare in Turkey/Malaysia. And wife-beating is common in most developing nations (muslim or not) but rare amongst developed ones (even among Muslims living in the developed nations). I do not see your logic on how you have attributed interpretation of religious text for this.

I'm sorry, but this is barbaric in the extreme and I definitely do not agree with the statements that infer that since it is COMMON in those countries that that makes it OK. Wife beatings, genital mutilation and honour killing ARE wrong by any standard. Governments and societies in those countries have to protect their women more as what is being done to their women in this way is barbaric in the extreme by any standards.


I agree with you that they are wrong, but I think you maybe slightly mkistaken in what I said. I am not inferring that since these countries engage in such activities that they are right. What I am saying is that some Muslim nations indulge in these horrific activities and yet in other Muslim nations they are extremely rare. This shows it is of neither religion nor interpretation of religion. It is down to ancient traditions and culture. Religion therefore cannot be blamed.
Bikerman
ThePolemistis wrote:
And back to your subejct on wife-beating and domestic violence in teh Muslim lands: Yes you are abdsolutely right that Islam is against this sort of wife-beating, genital mutulation and honour killings, and you are also right that the Muslim lands of today do suffer from these disgraceful acts. But like I said before, through prosperity comes equality: You look at Victorian Britain and you will see this wife-beating and domestic violence especially amongst social class in perhaps higher or equal proportions.
And while you have admitted that religion itself is not to blame, why are you blaming countries that are based on Islamic teaching (on their interpretation) for this? When again you are wrong to do this: genital mutulation is common in Africa (and not simply Muslim Africa) and yet very rare in Middle East, Honour killings is notorious in Pakistan/Saudi Arabia but rare in Turkey/Malaysia. And wife-beating is common in most developing nations (muslim or not) but rare amongst developed ones (even among Muslims living in the developed nations). I do not see your logic on how you have attributed interpretation of religious text for this.

Well, let me explain further, using your examples.
Saudi Arabia (and Iran which also figures highly in wife beating statistics) operate systems of Sharia Law. Saudi Arabia is a highly prosperous country so the notion that poverty is entirely to blame just won't wash. In Pakistan, SA and Iran the Quran is routinely used to justify wife beating - there is simply no way you can deny that.
Of course wife beating is less common in the more developed countries. They have secular legal systems which prosecute wife-beaters. Muslims in such countries know that they can be prosecuted for such violence and that their 'relgious defence' will not wash. (That does not, of course, mean that it does not happen - domestic violence is still far too prevalent in many 'developed' countries, including my own. The point is, however, that there is a clear and unambiguous message sent out by the social and legal institutions in such countries that this behaviour is criminal.)
The same is not true of many countries which operate Sharia. Sure, wife beating occurs in many underdeveloped non-Muslim countries - South Africa springs to mind. The point is, however, that secular legal systems do not underpin that type of violence in the same way that Sharia often does.
ThePolemistis
Bikerman wrote:

Well, let me explain further, using your examples.
Saudi Arabia (and Iran which also figures highly in wife beating statistics) operate systems of Sharia Law. Saudi Arabia is a highly prosperous country so the notion that poverty is entirely to blame just won't wash. In Pakistan, SA and Iran the Quran is routinely used to justify wife beating - there is simply no way you can deny that.
Of course wife beating is less common in the more developed countries. They have secular legal systems which prosecute wife-beaters. Muslims in such countries know that they can be prosecuted for such violence and that their 'relgious defence' will not wash. (That does not, of course, mean that it does not happen - domestic violence is still far too prevalent in many 'developed' countries, including my own. The point is, however, that there is a clear and unambiguous message sent out by the social and legal institutions in such countries that this behaviour is criminal.)
The same is not true of many countries which operate Sharia. Sure, wife beating occurs in many underdeveloped non-Muslim countries - South Africa springs to mind. The point is, however, that secular legal systems do not underpin that type of violence in the same way that Sharia often does.


The Saudis DO NOT operate systems of Sharia law. The Saudi prevent women from driving and from voting. That is not Shariah. You may say then that the Saudi have other elements of Shariah, but if so, then I can say the British Law has some elements of Shariah as well.
Secondly, Saudi Arabia is far from a prosperous nation. It shouldn't be classified as a developed nation either, due to the majority of its wealth being obtained from a single commodity - some may argue for it to be semi-developed, I would classify it as underdeveloped. There IS poverty is Saudi Arabia: official records would grossly underestimate poverty since the majority of its inhabitants are not classified as Saudi citizens. The wealth is not distributed equally either.

I am not saying that there is no wife beating in the SA, Pakistan and Iran, and it is indeed very worrying that it exists. But your statement that the Quran is used to justify it is wrong: I could easily say that the Nazi's and the Stalinists used Darwins theory of evolution to justify the deaths of millions of innocent civilians and commit the worst form of atrocities man has inflicted upon himself.
Religion has nothing to do with it: people would use anything to justify their actions.

And the decrease in developed nations of wife beating has nothing to do with secularism. You cannot say that the religion provides a pillar for those who commit such gross acts.
Take the case of adultry for instance: The punishment for adultry is death. But to accuse a women of adutry you first need four witnesses (or the husband could act as the four). However, if the women denies having commited adultry, NO MATTER WHAT EVIDENCE PROVES SHE HAS COMMITED ADULTRY, under Islamic Law she is innocent of adultry and not only that but also the 4 people giving witnesses cannot be allowed to give oath in court again. That is how strong it is to accuse women of adultry.
Now think back to the 70s where the Saudi kingdom accused their own princess of adultry/or illegal sex (zina is the arabic word). SHe was not even given a trial: she was killed on national television. What does this show you? Shoudl the Islamic penal code be blamed for the acts commited by the royal family in bringing King Fahds(?) most beloved granddaughter to justice? Will you blame religion for this?

And, I seriously do not understand what you mean by "that secular legal systems do not underpin that type of violence in the same way that Sharia often does." Violence is violence - against women, men or children, it is all the same. The BBC reported the 2 days back I think that a women bit off her friend's tongue. That is violence. It is simple. The notion that you are echoing regarding Shariah permitting forms of violence against a certain people on the basis of sex, is a complete lie.
Provide me the Laws of the countries which say that women beating is allowed. Give me an explicit quote in their constitution (and if u r gonna provide me with a fatwa, tell me his position within the state i.e. is he a qadi and his council) that says this.
Bikerman
ThePolemistis wrote:
The Saudis DO NOT operate systems of Sharia law. The Saudi prevent women from driving and from voting. That is not Shariah. You may say then that the Saudi have other elements of Shariah, but if so, then I can say the British Law has some elements of Shariah as well.
LOL...the 'no true Scotsman' fallacy writ large. Pathetic.
You know fine well that Saudi Arabia implements a system of Sharia based on the Hanbali doctrine and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.
Quote:
Secondly, Saudi Arabia is far from a prosperous nation. It shouldn't be classified as a developed nation either, due to the majority of its wealth being obtained from a single commodity - some may argue for it to be semi-developed, I would classify it as underdeveloped. There IS poverty is Saudi Arabia: official records would grossly underestimate poverty since the majority of its inhabitants are not classified as Saudi citizens. The wealth is not distributed equally either.
Saudi Arabia has a higher income per capita than many developed countries ($20,700). There is poverty in ALL countries - severe poverty in many western countries, including the UK and US.
Quote:
I am not saying that there is no wife beating in the SA, Pakistan and Iran, and it is indeed very worrying that it exists. But your statement that the Quran is used to justify it is wrong:
The Quran specifically allows wife beating as I have pointed out before. The fact that interpretations of the Quran are used by many people to justify such actions is not even questionable - it is a fact.
Quote:
And the decrease in developed nations of wife beating has nothing to do with secularism. You cannot say that the religion provides a pillar for those who commit such gross acts.
Take the case of adultry for instance: The punishment for adultry is death. But to accuse a women of adutry you first need four witnesses (or the husband could act as the four). However, if the women denies having commited adultry, NO MATTER WHAT EVIDENCE PROVES SHE HAS COMMITED ADULTRY, under Islamic Law she is innocent of adultry and not only that but also the 4 people giving witnesses cannot be allowed to give oath in court again. That is how strong it is to accuse women of adultry.
You twist the Quran to make it appear favourable, and conveniently ignore the bits that give a different picture. For example, to prove RAPE a woman must get 4 male witnesses (unless the rapist confesses) otherwise SHE can be charged with fornication. Looks a bit different when you put it that way doesn't it? Under Sharia in several countries the husband (this 'great protector') is entitled to divorce his wife by simply telling her she is divorced (or, in the case of Malaysia, simply texting her).
Quote:
Now think back to the 70s where the Saudi kingdom accused their own princess of adultry/or illegal sex (zina is the arabic word). SHe was not even given a trial: she was killed on national television. What does this show you? Shoudl the Islamic penal code be blamed for the acts commited by the royal family in bringing King Fahds(?) most beloved granddaughter to justice? Will you blame religion for this?
Yes I will - Wahhabist fundamentalism. Of course the Islamic penal code should be blamed since it is the body that decided and enforced the judgement. It is based on the Hanbali school of Sunni Islam, as you probably know. Saying that it is not 'proper' Sharia is simply a matter of opinion.
Quote:
And, I seriously do not understand what you mean by "that secular legal systems do not underpin that type of violence in the same way that Sharia often does." Violence is violence - against women, men or children, it is all the same. The BBC reported the 2 days back I think that a women bit off her friend's tongue. That is violence. It is simple. The notion that you are echoing regarding Shariah permitting forms of violence against a certain people on the basis of sex, is a complete lie.
No it is completely true. In western secular law violence is violence. The woman reported on BBC 2 committed a criminal offence. The fact that she may not have been prosecuted might be down to other factors (such as the victim not wishing to press charges), but the offence is recognised in law and the perpetrator could be prosecuted. Under Sharia law in various countries violence is permitted, even sanctioned.

You see, the sad part is that I actually agree that historically Islam has been better at implementing rights for women than rival systems (particularly Christianity). This changed, however, in the last 2 centuries when western democracies became established and the theocratic dominance of government and legal institutions was done away with (in other words, as Western countries became more secular the treatment of women got better).
Islamic states now lag far behind, for many reasons which certainly include western imperialism, but also include an unwillingness to change on the part of many muslims and Islamic institutions.

Anyway, as a moderator I cannot get involved in heated discussions which may degenerate into accusations of dishonesty, so I must withdraw. I have posted numerous references on the Quran and what it says about the subservience of women. If you wish to dispute it then go ahead. I will let readers decide for themselves.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
I agree with you that they are wrong, but I think you maybe slightly mkistaken in what I said. I am not inferring that since these countries engage in such activities that they are right. What I am saying is that some Muslim nations indulge in these horrific activities and yet in other Muslim nations they are extremely rare. This shows it is of neither religion nor interpretation of religion. It is down to ancient traditions and culture. Religion therefore cannot be blamed.
OK, I got it, I did misunderstand. I agree with you partially. Think you left out education. The more educated the people, the less the occurrence of barbaric practices like these. I think in Saudi Arabia there are tribes who are still living in the dark ages. There is lots of wealth, but there are large groups of people who are generally not well educated. So I think there is that, and quality of Government leadership. If the leadership encourages its people to be educated, that would make for a more open society with less barbarism. Religion has something to do with it as those who are responsible for these barbaric practices take their regulations from interpretations from religion. But for me education and quality of Government are on top of the list.
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